Johnny Manziel thinks he's ready for the NFL

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Heisman Trophy-winning redshirt sophomore from Texas A&M make a leap to the pros? He has until Jan. 15 to decide.

Like any other underclassmen player, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has until Jan. 15 to decide whether or not he will enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

Manziel, a Heisman Trophy finalist, believes he's ready for pro football.

"In my mind, I think I am," Manziel told reporters at The Home Depot College Football Awards. "I feel like I'm playing, for the most part, at a really high level of football. I'm putting the ball where I want it to be and I'm throwing it with a lot of velocity."

It's apparent this season that Manziel's arm is improved. Whatever work he did with private quarterback coach George Whitfield is at least paying off in that regard.

Manziel, a redshirt sophomore, told reporters he'll do more research over the next couple weeks before making his decision. The translation for that is he's probably waiting to get his grade back from the NFL Draft advisory committee.

If Manziel does go pro, he should expect to be picked in the first round. Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News is as connected with NFL front offices as any journalist in the nation. In speaking with NFL executives, Gosselin came away with the impression that Manziel will be a top 12 pick.

"You talk about instincts and playmaking ability at quarterback, I've never evaluated anyone better," NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said about Manziel on the Peter Schrager podcast. "He's the most creative playmaker quarterback that I've scouted in 10 years. There's a lot of guys split around the league, and there's some big-time Manziel backers. I'm one of the guys who believes he's going to be successful. His arm is stronger than people give him credit for, he's accurate, he can throw off any platform. I think the durability thing is a concern but you don't ask him to run as much."

One of the things Manziel said will factor in his decision is NFL teams being quarterback-needy. In the top 10 alone there are at least five teams that will be considering a quarterback.

This season, Manziel is completing 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,732 yards and 33 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 686 yards and eight more scores.

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