Note: Due to Good Friday, there will be no NNR show tonight. From all of us at FPS and NNR, have a wonderful Easter. We will see you Monday.
Scouts raved about the pro days of Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr and Blake Bortles. Buyer beware. What you see is not necessarily what you get.
Manziel is short. OK, he is very short. He does not have the patients to stay in the pocket and look through the trees to find an open receiver. If he does not see his first read open, he leaves the pocket to throw or more likely run.
A comparison is often made with Russell Wilson. That is totally false. Wilson moves to pass. Manziel moves to escape and most likely run. Wilson is a pocket passer that has the speed to run if necessary. Manziel is an out of the pocket guy that moves to run as often as he does to pass. Wilson protects himself when he runs. Manziel will have to learn to do that or get hurt often.
The biggest question about Manziel is can his game translate to the NFL? While he was able to get out of the pocket in college, the pro edge rushers are stronger and much more athletic than those he faced even in the SEC. In the games where the defense kept Manziel in the pocket, he struggled badly. A pro day that involves a broom is not a sport. It is a cleaning activity.
Wilson is also a football player first that spends the time to study tape to improve. Manziel is a star first that enjoys the trappings of being the BMOC (Big Man On Campus). Often the difference between a good QB and a great one is the willingness to spend time studying film.
Derek Carr is another example of buyer beware. He looked great on his pro day. But that did not show Carr’s greatest weakness. Like Brandon Weeden, Carr panics every time he is rushed. Some say his bad bowl game against USC was a fluke. But watch either his game against San Diego State or San Jose State and see how even bad defenses with a little pass rush hurt Carr’s game. Carr forgets about his mechanics against a rush. The result is bad throws many of which will become picks in the NFL. Carr is my 256th best QB prospect in this draft and there are less than 200.
Blake Bortles’ biggest issue is his footwork. Accuracy depends upon solid footwork. His pro day showed that Bortles has worked hard on correcting some of those issues. However, without a rush it is easy to have good footwork. Bortles did not climb the pocket in games. He has to do that and trust his line to keep the pocket clean. While it is a positive sign that he did better in his pro day, I have to wonder if that improvement will continue when he gets rushed. I doubt it.
Overall, I discount pro days. They are scripted exhibitions against air. While I think Teddy Bridgewater was stupid for not wearing his glove on his pro day, he is still my top QB prospect. His body of work stands for itself. He is the most NFL ready QB in the draft.
That is what I think. Tell us what you think.
NOTE: Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday, Thursday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on http://www.justin.tv/papaburl or http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. On Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, former NFL scout Kelron Sykes and I talk NFL draft with just a little Indians and Cavs thrown in. The archive is available on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. Please join us.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/ and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on http://www.justin.tv/papaburl.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.