Posted December 30, 2013

Texas A&M stars Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans reportedly will declare for NFL draft 2014

2014 NFL Draft Primer, NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
Mike Evans and Johnny Manziel are reportedly ready for the NFL draft.

Mike Evans (left) and Johnny Manziel are reportedly ready for the NFL. (David J. Phillip/AP)

It’s hardly surprising news, but according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, it’s official — Texas A&M will lose quarterback Johnny Manziel and receiver Mike Evans to the 2014 NFL draft. The two Aggies stars will play their last collegiate game on New Year’s Eve in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Duke.

Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy after a 2012 season in which he completed 295 passes in 434 attempts for 3,706 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He added 1,410 yards rushing on 201 attempts, scoring an amazing 21 touchdowns on the ground. His second collegiate season wasn’t quite as impressive, but the numbers were still fairly staggering — 270 completions in 391 attempts for 3,732 yards, 33 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, with 686 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns for good measure.

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In addition, Manziel started to develop the aspects of the game that will best serve him in the NFL — running to throw, focusing on second and third reads and understanding the complexities of the position. He’s not all the way there yet, but in an NFL that has learned to adapt to his type of quarterback, it’s time for Manziel to strike while the iron is hot. And the recent success of Russell Wilson will keep more scouts and personnel executives from being too averse to Manziel’s 5-foot-11, 210-pound frame.

“You take everything into account,” Manziel said earlier this month about that decision. “More than anything, are you ready for the next level? You don’t want to go be unprepared for the National Football League or leave two years on the table. In the grand scheme, it all comes down to making the best decision for you.”

There should be no such hesitation for Evans, who is precisely the kind of multi-tooled, big receiver the NFL always covets. Evans has 4.6 speed at 6-5 and 225 pounds, and he’s been impressively productive in his two seasons under head coach Kevin Sumlin and as Manziel’s favorite target. Evans caught 147 passes for 2,427 yards and 17 touchdowns in those two campaigns, and his 20.3 yards per catch average in 2013 ranked eighth in the NCAA. Evans’ track speed doesn’t always show up on tape, but he’s a strong receiver who is learning route concepts, and he’s a real bear to deal with after the catch. There were questions about Evans after Ryan Swope departed following the 2012 season and Evans became the primary point of focus for enemy defenses, but he eradicated those concerns this season.

With his two main stars leaving, one wonders if Sumlin, who recently signed a lucrative contract extension, will be more inclined to test the NFL waters as well.

27 comments
StockDoc
StockDoc

I absolutely disagree with this mindset that Manziel "needs" to make the jump to the NFL RIGHT NOW. In my opinion, as a physician, he should stay one more year, develop further his skills, and make the decision after NEXT year. The advantages of this extra year at the collegiate level are numerous.

Manziel needs more time to grow, both physically and mentally. At the NFL level, the players are bigger, faster, smarter, and more physical. Manziel reportedly has a size 14 foot (size 15, reported last night during the broadcast), yet stands only 6'0" to 6'1" (if he's stretched!) His body is still growing, and perhaps the extra year at the collegiate level will allow him to get taller, become stronger, and more muscular. More importantly, this will also allow his BRAIN to develop more critically, and allow him to study and learn further the nuances of the game, and hone his skills even further before making the leap to the NFL. He will be sharper, more focused, play smarter, and be a much improved quarterback. 

Many are of the mindset that, "he may get hurt" and ruin his NFL career. I think it's more likely for Manziel to get hurt moving to the NFL too early rather than allowing his body the necessary time to further develop and mature. There's a reason we don't let teenagers play contact sports against men. His family should have already taken out with Lloyd's of London a huge insurance policy ($20 million, at least) which will protect his future earnings potential if, indeed, he were to get hurt. One never knows if or when the unfortunate will occur, but by waiting another year, he will have developed further physically and mentally. Notice, for example, how, as the season went on, Manziel became banged up, with his shoulder injury, then his hand, and note how his performance dropped off at the most critical time of the season against very physical, tough teams in LSU and MIZZOU. In both games his play was well below his normal, and the team lost convincingly both games.

Manziel has won a championship at every level, except the collegiate. If he stays another year, he will have the opportunity to do so, whereas he will have zero chance if he leaves for the NFL. He will benefit from the playoff tier system, where the team has to be in the top 4, not the top 2. He plays incredibly well in big games, elevating even further his play, and manages to win when it counts the most.

The outlook for the Aggies is very optimistic. Texas A&M will be a much stronger team, especially on defense, after this year's experience, and with the addition of the numerous talented recruits that are set to join the team. The offense, I believe, will be better as well. I fully expect Evans to declare, and he will be a void that will be tough to fill, but with Seals-Jones healthy, among others, the receiving crew will be very good, and not dependent as much on one player.

These are just a few of my thoughts. If I were Manziel, I would wait to make the move to the NFL, stay another year at Texas A&M, continue to work with QB guru George Whitfield, continue to train and develop his body and mind, learn more intricately the offensive scheme and his progressions, and maximize his potential at the next level.

His patience, persistence, hard work, and delayal of gratification will reap huge rewards for him in the future, both next year at the collegiate level, where he might win a national championship, and afterwards, at the professional level.


Gig 'Em! 
Class of '85

Elw65Eric
Elw65Eric

You can only compare him to Wilson in physical stature....Wilson is smart, Manziel not so much.  He will be a Heisman bust.

Joel1
Joel1

Evans should be the first WR taken in the draft. Top 10 pick.

The guy's a beast.

FLAdomer
FLAdomer

I look for Johnny "Football" to get his clock cleaned and be out of football in 2 years. He is going to find out what real speed the NFL has week in and week out! Good riddence Johnny!

ToddBennett
ToddBennett

I would trade for Kirk Cousins, or even Chase Daniel, before I drafted Manziel before the third round.

_chewbucca
_chewbucca

Running/scrambling QB's generally have a short shelf life in the NFL. Manziel needs to get as much money up front as possible.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Manziel has the makings of a typical Heisman bust - a guy who piles up stats in college and doesn't have the physique or skills to star in the NFL. He won't be a Tebow level flop, but any team that wastes a first round pick on him will regret it.

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

Texans hire Bill O Brien and they work on trying to draft both of these kids

megalodale
megalodale

Evans will be a beast in the NFL.  Manziel will be a joke.  In all likelihood, a Ryan Leaf type joke.

6marK6
6marK6

The aggies need Johnny to move on for the program to advance. It has become all about him and nothing more.

Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips

Bad decision boys! Stay in school and finish your degree!

Matthew W
Matthew W

One more season in college would be good for him so he develops the tools he needs to better read defenses. He'll be picked high in the draft by a team with a lot of needs....he'll be left running for his life more often than not. 


5-11? Russel Wilson is getting it done despite non-NFL size....heck Drew Brees is 5-11 in platform shoes and torches defenses weekly. 

mashley278
mashley278

HAHAHAHA 210 lbs...yeah, we'll see if he can even come close to that during the combine. He goes about 185 at best.

jim1096
jim1096

I would love for the Bears to pick up Manziel - I think he'll be a good one. 

jeff.mills0875
jeff.mills0875

Good thing your not the decision maker as hes projected to go #4 to the browns...obviously someone that has a ton of money to draft him thinks differently.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@6marK6Yeah, having one of the best QBs in the college game is holding TAM back.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Steve PhillipsGreat point, because all those degree-earners will get much higher paying entry level jobs than these guys will.

stewygobrownscav
stewygobrownscav

@Matthew W Did you just say Manziel can't read a defense? Watch a Texas A&M game once in a while. Watch the Duke game again.


ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

@JoeCabot @megalodale  He spoke with your mother Joe, you should know she's a real trooper when it comes to that inside info. She's also a champ ay spreading 'em wide open. "Come and get your tuna fish" she always likes to say.