Johnny Manziel Draft Status: Did NFL Pro Day Boost Quarterback's NFL Stock?

Johnny Manziel Texas A&M Heisman
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has his fair share of supporters and detractors. Reuters

The most high-profile prospect in the upcoming draft had his NFL pro day on Thursday. NFL personnel, media, and even a former U.S. president came out to watch Johnny Manziel showcase his skills.

Johnny Football was evaluated in person by 75 officials from 30 teams. President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara Bush were also in attendance, as the college football star worked out in College Station. The event was even broadcast on ESPN.

Regardless of the attention surrounding the event, Manziel was impressive in his workout. The Texas A&M quarterback showed off a strong and accurate arm, throwing to six different receivers. In 65 pass attempts, Manziel threw just two incompletions, one of which was dropped. Another pass was caught out of bounds.  

"I felt like it was good," Manziel said. "(I) was obviously going for perfection. So had a couple balls hit the ground. One was on me. One was a little bit high. I could've got it down for him a little bit."

Manziel took an unconventional approach to his work out. He threw passes, while wearing a helmet and shoulder pads, which is unusual for one’s pro day.

"You play the game in shoulder pads on Sundays, why not come out here and do it?" Manziel asked. "I've never understood why that was a trend. To me, it was a no-brainer when coach (George) Whitfield and I talked about it. Come out here and treat this as a business day, treat this as a game day."

It’s hard to say if Manziel improved his draft stock, but he certainly didn’t hurt his chances of becoming a high draft pick. At the Scouting Combine in February, the 21-year-old showcased his elite athleticism. On Thursday, NFL officials saw, in person, that Manziel does have the passing ability to be considered as a top selection.

Most NFL mock drafts have Manziel going in the top half of the first round. He’s competing with Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater to be the first quarterback taken.

In two years with the Aggies, Manziel was one of the best quarterbacks in the NCAA. As a freshman, he won the Heisman Trophy, throwing for 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Last season, he surpassed the 4,000-yard mark, completing 37 touchdown passes.

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