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Scout's Eye: Tough Throws Look Easy At Manziel's Pro Day


Here are some notes on Thursday's Pro Day for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in College Station, Texas.

  • In attendance for the Cowboys were quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and scouts Chris Hall and Walter Juliff.
  • Manziel took all of his 65 snaps under center. This was something that NFL scouts and coaches were looking forward to seeing him do.
  • Footwork under center was crisp. There was no struggle to gain the proper depth and when he hit the spot the ball was coming out of his hand. There are no issues with a lack of foot quickness. He looked comfortable and confident in his drop.
  • Manziel threw all the routes in the route tree. He began the workout with some simple outs and slants to get things going. Early in the drills, I thought there was a little shake to his passes, but most likely that was from him nerves. He wiped his hands on a towel before every snap but an Aggie coach told me that he doesn't have any issues with sweat. 
  • Overall it was an accurate day for him, hitting on 62-of-65 scripted passes. The two drops were balls that hit receivers' hands, and Mike Evans caught a deep ball on a "9" or a vertical route that he was out of bounds on. After the workout, Manziel's coach, George Whitfield, said that is the closest that he had ever been to having a quarterback have a perfect day throwing the ball. It wasn't until the 48th pass that Manziel had an incompletion.

  • What was interesting about the workout in my view was how well that Manziel made the difficult throw look easy. His strength in my view, and you see this on tape, is his ability to throw the ball on the move. To get power on the ball, he uses his entire body. He has learned over the years how to create torque. When he has to stand there and throw, he doesn't appear to be able to get enough on the ball. You can see a little hump on it. There was one throw on an out where he did stand there and put it on the line, but others were how I described down the field.
  • If you are an NFL offense that can run the ball successfully and are big on the play action game, this is your guy. Manziel is an outstanding ball handler. He's solid on the play fakes and the way that he carries them out. He's not sloppy at all, but what's really impressive about him is how he's able to get his eyes back down the field to find the receiver after the fake. Hand size really helps him here, because he's able to show the entire ball, then pull it back to his body. 
  • Of the 62 passes that he did complete, there were only a couple where the ball wasn't where it needed to be. There were two in cuts to Evans where the ball was not in front and Evans had to reach back behind him and make the catch. Overall, he didn't make the receivers have to work too hard for the ball and he was able to show some nice touch in the flat to the back, but also down the field as well on the "9".
  • It was a first for me to see a quarterback throw in shoulder pads and helmet for his pro day, but Johnny Manziel managed to pull it off. Walking away from the day, I came away with a better understanding of how he might function under center. Make no mistake about it – he is better on the move and in the shotgun. But some of those questions that teams might have had about him before this day at least have a few more answers. 
  • Evans was also part of this Pro Day and he did nothing to hurt himself at all. I thought he showed quickness in and out of his routes, with that ability to snatch the ball. I was impressed with how physical he looked running his routes. I have always had the feeling that he would be an option for the Cowboys at 16, but after today that appears to be a dream.
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