The latest stop on the Johnny Manziel reality show made its way to the familiar setting of College Station on Thursday for the star quarterback's pro day.
The well-attended affair drew rave reviews from those in attendance, including scouts, analysts and even a former world leader. Despite the talent Manziel flashed at the Texas A&M indoor facility, where he ends up in the 2014 NFL Draft continues to be as unpredictable as it was earlier in the week. But for NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock, Manziel's pro day provided him with a clear answer.
"If I'm a GM in the top 10 and I had to take a quarterback today, it would be Johnny Manziel," Mayock said on "Path to the Draft." "A lot of it is on the strength of defensive coordinators not wanting to deal with that style of play, and me buying into the kid. I'm buying into the kid as a competitor more than anything."
Manziel was rated by Mayock as the draft's second-best quarterback when his positional rankings were released at the beginning of the month, but there's little doubt Manziel saw his stock go up with the throwing session. With eight head coaches in attendance at the pro day and a number of teams hunting for quarterbacks in the top 10, a few general managers might have to start thinking about moving up in the draft if teams continue to fall in love with the most interesting prospect in years.
"I think it's that X-factor that makes you go, 'Can we afford to pass on him? Can we allow someone else to get that X-factor?'" NFL Network's Kurt Warner said. "I still believe you're not going to be able to answer the questions you're going to need to answer until he's on the field, in that setting, reading defenses and showing he can do that.
"He showed us that special factor again today that we look at and go, 'That doesn't come around very often.'"
That's one reason why Manziel was able to become the first freshman (he was a redshirt) to win the Heisman Trophy two years ago, and why he confounded defenses in the mighty SEC, to the point where coaches are probably relieved to see him go.
"I think we confirmed today his arm strength -- it's fine," Mayock said. "It's every bit as good as [Blake] Bortles or anyone we've seen this year. Mechanically, he can make any throw an NFL quarterback has to make.
"The final piece of the puzzle you can't figure out in a pro day is, when you put the pads on in September and play in the NFL, is he willing and able to win from the pocket?"
The clock is ticking for teams to make a decision on if Manziel can be their franchise quarterback. Based on his performance on Thursday it's possible more than one front office now thinks he can.