From the Bleacher Report, scouting Logan Thomas: “…It’s easy to hate on Logan Thomas after his struggles the past two seasons at Virginia Tech. He struggled with his ball placement, his footwork hadn’t substantially improved, and his overall confidence seemed to fade over the past two years.
“But when teams draft quarterbacks after the first round, they’re looking for passers with the upside to develop into potential starters. Thomas has plenty of negatives on his scouting report, but his 6’6” size, ideal body type, strong arm and flashes on film that remind one of Cam Newton should be enough to intrigue teams in the first two rounds. Thomas has been the forgotten man in the media after a lackluster Senior Bowl.“
We see this report far too often and many NFL franchises have followed this blue-print; Ignore the negative intangibles while allowing their eyes to salivate over the qualities that really mean very little, if any, to the success or potential failure of a draft prospect. Man still believes bigger is better, despite the nano-technology that makes life easier.
So what are the critical skills needed that provide a prospect the best chance to succeed? The qualities I scout are:
- Rises to the occasion.
- Handles pressure easily.
- A leader.
- Handles the blitz extremely well.
- Accuracy versus the blitz.
- Pocket presence.
- Extends plays.
- Deep ball accuracy.
- Short pass accuracy.
- Good Passer [timing, touch-pass, quick delivery, over-all accuracy].
The first thing I look for is, how does that quarterback perform when the game is on the line? Should he stumble and falter I just move onto the next quarterback. The quarterback I look for must always rise to the occasion, playing bigger than the moment. My next question is how does he handle the pressure. He must handle the pressure like a master teaching a student. He must be a leader.
Does he do the little things right? That requires intelligence and an agile mind. Does he check down? Does he lead the defense? Does he smartly throw the ball away? How often has he over-looked his open receiver? Is he quick to find his passing lanes? Does he take too many risks into tight windows? How many interceptions were his fault versus the receiver?
How is his ability to move the pocket? Stand in the pocket? Does he make his receivers better or do they make him better? That question can only be answered by his receivers; Do they adjust often to the pass? Do they often come back to the ball?, etc..If yes to any, then the receivers make him better.
Johnny Manziel possess all of these traits and skills. I have tried to find reasons to not like Johnny “Football”, but the more negatives I try to find the more I like him. If Manziel were several inches taller, I’m confident he’d have more fans demanding their team take a chance.
The two generic reasons why so many fans are in distaste of this kid, is his height and pocket presence. His height is something that can not be fixed, nor does that guarantee his failure. His perceived lack of pocket presence is a lazy excuse at best for ridiculing him, because that just isn’t true. [click here for pocket passing video].
Many fans would love to have seen Nick Saban gracing the sidelines, however, many down-play his praises for Manziel – a quarterback Saban had two face more than he would have liked, calling Manziel one of the greatest competitors in his 40 years of coaching.
The USAToday said: “But at No. 1-ranked Alabama, which has the most legitimate reason of all to dislike Manziel, the praise this week has been so effusive, it almost seems orchestrated. ‘He deserves the hype he’s gotten because of what he’s done and how he’s played,” safety HaHa Clinton-Dix said. “It doesn’t bother me at all. He’s one of a kind, if you ask me’.”
“We just weren’t used to a player like Johnny Manziel,” safety Vinnie Sunseri said. “We know what he’s capable of doing now.”
The Alabama football paper said this: “Prior to this game, Nick Saban said that preparing for Johnny Manziel was extremely difficult because he does so many things “off schedule”. This means that Johnny Football basically ad libs most of the time and he can use his legs as well as his arm to suck the life right out of your defense. Nick Saban and Kirby Smart devised a game plan that was intent on making Manziel stay in the pocket and prove he has the ability to be a pocket passer. Well, guess what? He damn sure proved it by hitting on 28 of his 39 passes, most of which emanated from the pocket.“
“Meanwhile, the Bama defense blitzed. They played zone. They played zone and man. They played bump and run (mostly whiff and run). They changed their front from a 4-2 to a 4-1 and then to a 3-2 and a 3-1. They did everything they could possibly do to Johnny Football but, in the end, nothing worked. And, in the rare instance that Alabama actually got some pressure on Manziel, he simply lofted up a pass to 6’5 Mike Evans and suddenly things got much better for the Aggies. In the pocket, Manziel was a nightmare but down the field the Tide had no answers for Evans, either. Between the two of them, Alabama nearly suffered an agonizing defeat. But, as it is, the Tide survived the A&M onslaught and they can be thankful that they won’t see the likes of Johnny Football ever again. Whew.”
Apache Warrior legend Geronimo was said he never had to tell his story, his enemies wrote his story for him.
I can’t say Johnny Manziel will be an NFL legend, but he has made his name known among his foes while earning their respect, There are no accurate barometers to indicate he will not perform at the next level and one’s opinion simply doesn’t influence the outcome.
There is no need to cite the scouting reports, that wasn’t my objective with my own scouting report…I simply wanted to touch on the grey areas surrounding Manziel and answer his critics.
Love him, hate him – there’s no denying Manziel is special. How much, well, that remains to be seen., but I doubt he will disappoint his fans.