When it comes to a player like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, it's never too early to start talking about the NFL Draft.
Manziel won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman this past season for the Aggies, and could make next season his last in college and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. However, he does have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
ESPN's Adam Schefter has become the first of what will be many to speculate that Manziel will jump to the NFL after his 2013 season. After a conversation between Manziel and Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN, Schefter gets the feeling that Aggie fans will only have one more year to enjoy Manziel's company in College Station.
Just so that we're not relying on Schefter's speculation, here's what Manziel said when asked if he will play three seasons of college football.
"You never know how things might play out."
That's all he said. Still, Manziel's NFL future will be a hot topic from now until he walks up on stage and shakes the commissioner's hand whenever he does decide to enter the draft.
At the moment, it's tough to gauge how Manziel grades out as a prospect. He can obviously churn out yards on the ground, which is perfect for the read option offense that has slowly started to sweep across the NFL. Manziel also has the accuracy to excel in that type of system or any NFL offense for that matter.
The two big knocks on Manziel at this point are his size and arm strength. Manziel is only 6'1 and 200 pounds, so his size is far from ideal. However, he still has time to grow and prove that he can take hits in the NFL. The height isn't a huge issue because of his ability to move around and create throwing lanes. Just ask any team that passed on Russell Wilson for that reason.
Manziel's arm strength won't blow anyone away, but he has time to show NFL scouts he can make all of the throws. With at least one more season of throws to put on tape, scouts will have plenty of time to form a final picture on Manziel.
The bottom line: Manziel has plenty of time to improve.
It's impossible to tell at this point whether or not Manziel will head to the NFL for the 2014 NFL Draft. The class has the potential to be a strong one at quarterback. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater will be a junior next season and San Jose State's David Fales will be a senior. Both project as first round picks heading into 2013. Not to mention Clemson's Tajh Boyd, who picked up steam towards the end of his junior season.
But if Manziel maintains the momentum he's established in his only season of play, he may have no choice but to cash in. While not every scout is going to be sold on Manziel, it only takes on team to fall in love. The way Johnny Football has played, it seems fair to reason that more than one team will fall in love with this kid's skill set.
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