As an evaluator of talent, I try to focus on actions on the field. My thoughts on the Heisman Trophy winner are documented on NFL Draft 365. I thought it would be interesting to take the temperature inside NFL front offices, so I reached out to five personnel executives within the league and posed this question:
Does Johnny Manziel have the skillset to be a successful NFL starting quarterback? Here are the results:
Executive No. 1: Manziel has the 'it' factor
"Yes. He's a playmaker. He has good vision, enough arm strength and good enough accuracy. Plus, he's a winner. He has a good level of that "it" factor. Also, it's worth noting that nobody in the SEC can tackle the guy."
Executive No. 2: Comparable to Wilson
"Yes. He has a surprisingly good arm. He has rare instincts and ad-lib ability. He reminds me of Russell Wilson."
Executive No. 3: He's no Vick
"No. He had the luxury of playing behind a great offensive line. I have concerns about his size, arm strength and durability. He's not nearly as talented as Michael Vick."
Executive No. 4: Arm, accuracy are problems
"No. He needs to really improve his arm strength and accuracy from the pocket."
Executive No. 5: He has 'rare instincts'
"Yes. He has rare instincts. He's not a precision passer but he has an incredible knack for making "off-schedule" throws. I love his toughness and charisma on the field. He can frustrate defenders and take over a game with his ability to make unorthodox plays."
Final verdict: Three yes votes, two no votes.
Conclusion: NFL evaluators are just as split on Manziel as the media and college football fans. All of these executives acknowledge he's not a "traditional" quarterback, in terms of size and style of play. However, some of them view that as a deterrent while others believe this is a new era and the old standards have changed.
One thing everyone can agree on: Opinions can change. Let's see what Johnny Football has in store for the 2013 college football season.