What that picture is starting to show is an improved and ascending NFL prospect.
There wasn't much to be extrapolated from Manziel's first two games of the season. He played just a half against Rice in his first game, and against Sam Houston State in his second.
But last Saturday, Manziel had another star-making performance against budding rival Alabama. Although Alabama won 49-42, Manziel is the talk, which is nothing unusual.
What is a little unusual was how Manziel achieved his 562 total yards, the second most in SEC history. Officially, 464 came in the air and the other 98 were on the ground.
According to reports, there were more NFL scouts in College Station than there had ever been. They saw a markedly improved passer than the one who won last year's Heisman Trophy.
Manziel's improvement was best displayed on several deeper passes outside the hashes. Manziel's arm is not only stronger, he places the ball better. While it does help he can throw the ball up to 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore wide receiver Mike Evans, Manziel previously relied on the quick passing game.
In the first quarter, Manziel was on point. He had nine pocket throws, completing seven of them. His first, a deep pass to Evans near the far sideline over a cornerback was arguably the best of the game.
Alabama's plan for most of the game was to rush only five players. The outside rush was more of a contain with different types of interior pressure to get penetration in the middle. That left Alabama with six players in coverage. Throughout the game, they went from bump-and-run man coverage to zone coverage.
"I do think that type of offense is going to be very difficult for most teams to defend. Unless you can mismatch them up front," Alabama head coach Nick Saban told reporters after the game. "If you have four guys to rush that they can't block, then you can play a lot of things in the secondary and have a lot better chance."
When Alabama dropped back into zone coverage, Manziel delivered on underneath throws or he pulled the ball and ran. While Manziel does have a whirling dervish running style, his instincts are rare. In terms of shiftiness, Manziel can do a lot of the same things Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas can in the open field. He's not as fast, but the speed is there.
When the Tide played man coverage, he went deep. When things went awry, Manziel was calm. When Alabama hit Manziel, he wasn't rattled. When A&M charged back in the fourth quarter, it was Manziel's arm that kept the Aggies in the game.
On a 95-yard touchdown pass to Evans in the fourth quarter, it wasn't just the wide receiver's talents that broke the play open. Yes, Evans beat tight man coverage and had plenty of yards after the catch. But Manziel delivered a perfect throw of more than 40 yards in stride that allowed Evans to run the play out for a touchdown.
As good as Manziel looked on Saturday, he's not a flawless quarterback prospect. There are always going to be detractors because of his size – a listed 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. Even in today's NFL, some teams just won't take a quarterback of that size high in the draft.
Teams will also have to be willing to cater their offensive to Manziel's unique talent. Teams like the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have done it with success, so others may not be as hesitant.
The purist of analysts would also probably want to see Manziel control himself in the pocket better. His footwork remains a work in progress, he doesn't go through many progressions and he still likes to pull the ball and run.
Then there's the off-the-field stuff. Make no mistake, Manziel is going to be as divisive of a player as there is in the draft. The possible off-field headaches will cause some teams to completely take him off their draft board. On NBC's Football Night in America, former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said he wouldn't draft Manziel. Pioli based his opinion on Manziel's actions on and off the field.
"This is going to be the leader of your football team, the leader of your franchise," Pioli said. "The last thing you want to do is put someone in that position with those issues that's going to be representing your club."
That same sentiment was shared to Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
But Manziel, to many teams right now, would be undraftable because they’re scared of his mood swings and off-field questions. But it only takes one team out of 32 to fall for him. And some team will, unless he self-destructs between today and draft day.
For now, and likely for the foreseeable future, Manziel looks like a real NFL prospect as a quarterback. Not the No. 1 pick next year (and yes, expect him to go pro after the season). He may not even be a first-round pick yet. But don't forget that Russell Wilson, the player Manziel is compared to the most, was a third-round pick. If he keeps playing like he did against Alabama, though, Manziel could get drafted much higher.