Catching up with quarterback guru George Whitfield at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, I learned he’s well aware of what Manziel’s critics have been slinging.
“He was better this year than last year.” Whitfield told me. “Leading college football in accuracy from the pocket, top three in accuracy when the ball travels beyond 15 yards. You really can’t have that kind of success from the pocket or downfield if you’re not breaking down defenses and making reads.”
That’s probably in response to some of the things analysts like NFL Matchup Executive producer Greg Cosell have been saying. “If the first thing you say about a quarterback as to why he can be a pro is ‘he’s great at extending plays’ that’s not the first thing that should be on your checklist.” Cosell told TexansRadio.com.
“You have to find out in your evaluations whether he’s a free lancer and a gambler.” He said. “If you come to the conclusion that he is, then he’s going to have a hard time being an NFL quarterback.”
Cosell doesn’t shoot from the hip. He’s watched over 450 drop-backs by Manziel. But Whitfield certainly knows his stuff as well. Such is the nature of evaluating Johnny Football. Opinions vary.
Whitfield has been working out with Manziel on the West Coast and even brought in James Lofton to work with Manziel’s Texas A&M battery mate, Mike Evans. Whitfield has already seen pupils like Andrew Luck and Cam Newton taken with the number one pick in the NFL draft. Now he’s hoping Manziel does the same.
His pre draft education includes teaching how to handle on-field adversity. “The peaceful serene training of throwing pretty spirals over and over has some usage but you also have to teach these guys how to change a tire, how to hot wire the vehicle sometimes, how to push it out of the snow.”
Manziel has already proved he can deal with a bumpy road in college. Now he’s trying to convince the teams with the highest picks in the NFL Draft.