Johnny Manziel's pro day may have been the most anticipated workout of the entire pro day slate. He's an enigmatic player even outside of his overly publicized off-field life. Manziel is a different kind of quarterback, with unique playmaking ability but a style of play that might not mesh well with a prototypical NFL offense and against defenders who are bigger, faster and stronger than anyone he has ever faced.
Representatives from most of the 32 NFL teams showed Thursday -- as well as dignitaries such as former president George H.W. Bush and Texas governor Rick Perry -- to see ol' Johnny Football throw. So how did he do? Pretty darn well, actually.
At least, about as well as one can look throwing to a wide open Mike Evans with no defenders to worry about. Manziel did take a couple measures to make his workout different, however. First, he eschewed the normal quarterback pro day attire of shorts and a muscle shirt and donned a helmet and pads. His reasoning was flawless.
Just asked Manziel why the pads and helmet at pro day: "Isn't the game played with them on?"— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 27, 2014
Second, Manziel added a "pass rush" element, which was just a position coach chasing him with a broom. He and Evans were able to connect early and often, however. Manziel rolled right to complete a pretty-looking bomb down the sideline at one point.
Manziel acquitted himself well despite the obstacles, completing 61-of-64 pass attempts. Of the three misses, one ball was dropped, one ball fell short, and the last sailed out of bounds, according to USA Today's Lindsay Jones. One of Manziel's best passes of the day came on his last attempt of the workout. He hit a streaking Evan perfectly in stride deep down the middle of the field, then celebrated accordingly.
Feedback from the workout was positive.
Manziel attacking short left/right slot areas. Had only 27 total attempts in those areas during season. Trying to prove something here.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 27, 2014
General reax from NFL coaches after Johnny Day: He threw really well, but it was a spectacle. Heard words "Hollywood" and "sideshow."— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) March 27, 2014
24 of 24 all under center. Lots of play action and rollouts.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) March 27, 2014
Johnny Manziel's passes are currently playing "the turf is lava."— Good Bull Hunting (@GBHunting) March 27, 2014
So Manziel threw well, and did so amid an inordinate amount of hoopla for a workout and while challenging himself to throw under center and attack areas of the field he didn't typically attack while at Texas A&M. All in all, the former Heisman winner likely did himself some good in the minds of the eight NFL head coaches, eight general managers and representatives from all but two teams (the Cleveland Browns and the Chicago Bears were missing) who showed up.
Here's Manziel's post-workout parting shot:
Manziel: I just want (NFL teams) to know that my focus is football. ... I'm 100 percent dedicated.— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) March 27, 2014
And here's Manziel goofing off with Bush Sr. because why not: