Count "influence of family" among the concerns that at least one NFL player personnel director has about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. And count the same guy among the growing number of scouts who remain convinced that the Aggies' third-year sophomore will be a first-round pick anyway.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Mac Engel wrote for his blog that the player personnel director had no concerns about Manziel's controversial offseason that included an NCAA investigation, his reported ousting from the Manning Passing Academy, and an appetite for partying. Nor was his size (6-1, 200 pounds) of concern, but rather "concern of whether Manziel can endure the NFL's 16-game schedule, the influence of Manziel's family," and (that) "this guy thinks he can do everything. He tries to do too much," he said. "He thinks he can do all of it. But he's special. I think he can play."
There isn't much to go on, at least in the public domain, about how much influence Manziel's family wields. In fact, about the only such account comes from the espn.com feature by Wright Thompson, published in July, which paints a picture suggesting the Manziel family has more influence with TAMU athletics than with Johnny Football himself. How much players are influenced by agents, entourages, wives and family, or anyone else whose advice might not always be sound is a common concern for NFL clubs.
But if Manziel has proven anything positive off the field in the last two years, it's that he is his own man and makes up his own mind.
Manziel has yet to declare his eligibility for the 2014 NFL Draft, but the announcement is expected and could come as soon as his postgame remarks after TAMU's Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance against Duke on New Year's Eve.