Johnny Manziel's pro-day performance on March 27 impressed a lot of people, but it hasn't done anything to change Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon's opinion: He's just not sold. Moon told SiriusXM NFL Radio that Manziel will have to tone down the risk-taking at the NFL level that he was known for at Texas A&M, not only to minimize mistakes, but to keep himself healthy, as well.
"Well, he's one of the most exciting players to play college football, no question about it. He's a risk taker, and he gets away with a lot of those things," 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."
That's not the first time Moon has cast doubt about whether Manziel will find success at the pro level. A couple of weeks before Manziel's pro day, Moon expressed some of the same concerns in a radio interview. From an injury standpoint, it's an especially legitimate concern. Getting good value from drafting a quarterback in the first round demands a healthy career, if not a lengthy one.
With four clubs holding a top-five pick in need of a quarterback, Manziel would like nothing more than to prove himself in that regard as one of the first picks off the board. If he slides past Minnesota with the No. 8 pick, however, he could be waiting awhile.
"He's doing all the things right to move himself up in the draft, but still, what makes Johnny Manziel 'Johnny' is those special, magical plays that he makes, and I just don't know if there's going to be as many of those when you're playing against the talent that he's playing against in the NFL," Moon added.
Of course, the NFL is a level of play all its own.
But when Manziel scorched defenses for 1,405 rushing yards during his 2012 Heisman Trophy season as a freshman, taking on defenders and refusing to slide or run out of bounds, fans of the defensively-rugged SEC were howling that he'd never last the season in that league, either.
And he came through it without a scratch.