HOUSTON (CBS Houston) “BOOM!”
That was immediately followed by ooohs, aaahhhs, claps and cheers.
The “Boom” came courtesy of George Whitfield, the Quarterback Guru working with Texas A&M’s most famous soon-to-be NFLer. The crowd, likely around 300+ media members, scouts, coaches, etc, followed with its loudest of its multiple cheers and ovations of the the day.
Johnny Manziel had just thrown an absolute strike to Mike Evans, hitting him in stride in the end zone from the other side of midfield. It was a perfect pass to end a nearly perfect day.
Manziel connected on 63 of 65 passes at his pro day, and both incompletions hit hands. Only the second one was a misfire, it was the second to last pass of the day, and it was still a catchable ball.
Manziel was in complete control of his pro day, with a circle of receivers he knew, his quarterback coach, and a few other coaches from A&M. He huddled his receivers up several times during the showcase.
Manziel wore his helmet and shoulder pads, because, as he said, he will need to “wear them on Sundays.” He had coaches chase him with brooms to simulate an actual practice to make him move to escape pressure.
Manziel’s pro day was a rousing success. He demonstrated a strong arm, accuracy, and touch. He showed he could make all throws a team would ask of him in the NFL. He further went and showed he could make spectacular throws many others cannot. He did everything he could to back up his words from January when he said he wanted to be the top overall pick.
“The way he was able to throw it 45 yards, with the movement….I know how rare that is to have that physical ability,” raved Kurt Warner, former Super Bowl champ and 2-time NFL MVP, now with NFL Network. “There were a couple ‘wow’ throws in there…you don’t normally see that at a pro day.”
Manziel also overcame what is likely the biggest distraction at any pro day this year. A former president arrived in the middle of his workout.
President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara attended the showcase, arriving halfway through the event. Everyone in the building stopped to take notice, including Manziel and his coaches and receivers.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Whitfield said, speaking of the President’s entrance. “We just felt a big movement up on the sideline, and all of the sudden [Manziel] turned back around and said ‘Whoa, that’s the President!’ Thats pretty special when that happens.”
With a living former president in attendance, Manziel went on to have the most impressive pro day of any quarterback thus far this year.
“I thought he did everything he could do to show an NFL team that, 1) he had the arm strength to make every throw, 2) mechanically he could make every throw, and 3) he did most of them in the pocket.” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock told me after the session. “He made the throws in the pocket he needed to make to show mechanically he could do it.”
What does the spectacular pro day mean for Manziel in the long run? Johnny himself said he didn’t know, as that is out of his control. However, the ‘standings’ among the Big 3 may have changed.
“I would probably go Manziel first, Bortles second, and Bridgewater third.” Warner said to me. “I think Manziel brings a little bit of an X factor that the other two guys don’t bring. That, to me, puts him at the top of the board because he could give me something special that I’m not going to get from the other two.”
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and GM Rick Smith were in attendance. Manziel certainly made strong positive impressions on most scouts and analysts. In about 6 weeks, we should find out how big an impression he made on Texans brass.
Patrick Creighton is the host of “Nate & Creight” along with Nate Griffin, Sundays 2-5pm on Sportsradio 610 Houston. Follow him on Twitter at @PCreighton1