NFL draft 2014: Who is Jonny 'Football' Manziel?

Is this College party boy prospect a worthwhile risk in the upcoming draft?

It’s that time of the year again; as New York gears up for the NFL’s annual draft, fans across the world will start to ask themselves, ‘is this year the year?’ For 31 fan bases, the pain of last year can be forgotten and hope can once again return.

With the draft being the biggest event in the off-season calendar, it signifies the start of a new season, even a new era for some teams as each franchise will take it in turn to select the cream of College football’s crop. Believe it or not, two or three wrong decisions over the course of the next three days can set a franchise back just as many years, so the gravity of the event is rarely understated.

Every year emerges one hot prospect destined for stardom and more often than not this is a quarterback. However this year, there is no Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, there is instead Johnny “Football” Manziel, one of the most polarizing prospects since Tim Tebow.

Manziel, a quarterback from Texas A&M University, and winner of the Heisman Trophy (college football’s top individual award), is a player known for his sporting heroics and Hollywood partying.

With nearly 8,000 yards thrown in two years at A&M, as well as becoming only the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season, Manziel is widely believed to be one of the most athletically gifted quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.

His fluent and natural style of play has turned him into one of the most dynamic college quarterbacks and his ability to keep a drive alive makes him notoriously hard to beat.

As the NFL gradually moves towards using a more versatile form of quarterback, one who can run and throw, Manziel has joined the draft at the perfect time. Some of the NFL’s top young quarterbacks be it Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson have enjoyed much success in pistol run offences.

Exactly how Johnny Football plays may also be his downfall. The 21-year-old's “razzle dazzle” style is not what every team looks for in a quarterback. He’s not a traditional pocket passer, something that is generally seen as a safer draft option, and he’s small for a quarterback at six-foot.

Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon explained in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio last month that Manziel was an exciting player but also a risk taker.

Moon said: “I just think in the NFL, some of those things, he’s going to have to take out of his game. He just won’t be able to get away with some of those things that he did in college football, especially taking on people, being as physical as he likes to play the game. I don’t think you can do that in the NFL or you won’t be available for your football team.”

Along with questions regarding his style of play, Johnny Football has also gained a notorious reputation for his behaviour away from the sport.

In June 2012, Manziel was arrested following a “mutual” fight with a 47-year-old man and in August 2013 he was investigated for allegedly receiving payments for signing autographs; something collegiate players can be suspended for doing.

Manziel has often been associated with over partying and living a glamorous Hollywood lifestyle despite not yet having joined the NFL. He has also become renowned for his friendship with celebrities such as rapper Drake and NBA star LeBron James.

Manziel’s general demeanour away from football has left questions for teams about whether his personality will become more of a liability than an asset and his increasing fame and Namath like persona is not to every teams liking.

Despite this, the Johnny Football spark is something some teams will be looking to introduce. For several franchises be it Cleveland, Jacksonville or Oakland; teams absent from the playoffs for years on end, a Johnny Football is exactly what they need, a player who can re-energize and bring confidence back into a team, something Manziel doesn’t seem to be short of.

Where Manziel eventually ends up is still one of the most difficult questions being asked in the NFL. Rumours circling the league have him going number one overall as well as falling out of the first round altogether and skipped by every team at the first chance they get.

What will be a given however is that the attention towards Johnny Football’s career is likely to grow whatever the outcome on Thursday.

The NFL Draft, Live on Sky Sports 1 on Friday 12:00AM

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam