Houston Texans: Johnny Manziel

What kind of NFL career will newly signed quarterback Tom Savage have?

Will it be comparable to Steve Stenstrom or David Garrard? Danny Wuerffel or Aaron Brooks? Sage Rosenfels or Kyle Orton?

[+] EnlargeTom Savage
AP Photo/Pat SullivanThe Texans are hoping Tom Savage can beat the odds and become a long-term answer at quarterback.
To make a somewhat educated guess, you have to look back over the last 20 drafts (not including the one conducted earlier this month).

The latter name in the three comparisons above is obviously preferable, but the chances of that happening are low. There were 28 quarterbacks drafted in the fourth round from 1994 to 2013. Only nine were able to start at least 10 games and only six were able to become the starting quarterback or start at least 16 games.

That means only 21 percent of the quarterbacks drafted started what amounts to a full season in the NFL. That is a low number until you remember it’s the fourth round, which is traditionally not a place teams find quality starting quarterbacks.

There are obviously exceptions, such as Garrard, Brooks and Orton, all of whom became multiyear starters. Other fourth-round picks over that span that started at least 16 games were Danny Kanell, Seneca Wallace and Rob Johnson.

It’s interesting to note that there are also six sixth-round quarterbacks that have gone on to start at least 16 games in their careers. It’s a pretty good group, too: Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger, Jim Miller, Bruce Gradkowski, and Derek Anderson. It’s obviously skewed by Brady, but Hasselbeck, Bulger and Miller combined to lead their teams to the playoffs nine times and one Super Bowl.

Seventeen of the 135 quarterbacks drafted in Rounds 4-7 from 1994-2013 went on to start at least 16 games in their careers. In addition to the previously named players, that group includes Gus Frerotte, A.J. Feeley, Matt Cassel, and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

None of that will be any help to receiver Andre Johnson, who less than a week after the Texans took Savage in the fourth round said he wondered if Houston was still the place for him. It's obvious he's unhappy with the quarterback position, especially after seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars take Blake Bortles No. 3 overall, the Cleveland Browns trade up four spots to take Johnny Manziel at No. 22, and the Minnesota Vikings trade back into the first round to take Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd pick.

Houston had the 33rd overall selection.

But it’s interesting to look back because it shows that while it’s unlikely, it is possible to find very good -- and possibly even great -- quarterbacks in the fourth round or later. The Texans are hoping they did.
We are close to the start of Jadeveon Clowney's first news conference with the Houston media.

While you wait, take a listen to the Numbers Never Lie podcast in which Jemele Hill and Michael Smith discuss the Texans' selection of Jadeveon Clowney and Cowboys passing on Johnny Manziel.

They start with Manziel:

"I did think it would be a neat story just to troll America," Smith said. "For all those people who didn't want to see those forces of media nature collide, it would've been great. ... They would've set themselves up for the long term with an heir apparent to a 34-year-old coming off two back surgeries."

"Once Johnny Manziel slipped out of the top 10, it was a really good value pick," Hill said.

On Clowney:

"I'm worried about this pick," Hill said. "I have been from the beginning. I understand why we're so infatuated with Jadeveon Clowney's physicality ... but to me the motivation and how he played out his last season is still an issue for me. ... Particularly when you compare it to other defensive ends that have been highly rated that have been in that position."

"What if the Texans and Romeo Crennel and J.J. Watt and that locker room and that culture, and whatever chip he now has on his shoulder given the work ethic criticisms, what if that allows him to tap 75 ot 80 percent of his potential?" Smith said. "That's still a monster .... He can make several game-changing plays per game without trying. ... As much as they needed a quarterback, as much as I wanted them to take Johnny Manziel, I can't say that I can second-guess them taking the most talented prospect in the draft. OK he's not a finished product. It's up to the coaching staff to refine him."
HOUSTON -- The panic was palpable as the first-round closed.

There the Texans were, having taken Jadeveon Clowney first overall then having sat pat for the rest of the first round, rather than addressing what remains their biggest need.

Blake Bortles went third overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Johnny Manziel waited hours until the Cleveland Browns took him 22nd. The Minnesota Vikings traded up to the 32nd pick, one slot before the Texans drafted next, to take Teddy Bridgewater. And just like that, the three most talked-about quarterbacks in this year's draft were gone.

Panic in the streets.

Only, if you listened to what the Texans have been saying since March, this fits.

They said they didn't see three clear-cut top players. Coach Bill O'Brien said he didn't see much separation between that trinity and other quarterbacks. General manager Rick Smith agreed.

"There's some depth in this draft class in general and I think one of the positions that illustrates that is the quarterback position," Smith told me on March 25. "A lot of people talk about the three guys Manziel, Bortles, and Bridgewater, but there’s some good quarterbacks out there, the whole group."

On the same day, O'Brien mentioned Alabama's AJ McCarron, LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo and Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, when bringing up names of other "guys that can play quarterback." He didn't mention Derek Carr, David's younger brother, but some (including Mel Kiper) consider him to be the best quarterback remaining in the draft.

That the Texans have waited fits.

Trust me, they realize it's a need. It was a need even before Houston traded Matt Schaub away to the Raiders. His story with the Texans was finished. This new Texans regime has no intention of going into 2014 with only the three quarterbacks they have now -- Ryan Fitzpatrick, signed in free agency, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates. If that happens, something went wrong. They've had internal discussions about Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, but as of Thursday evening they have had no talks with the Patriots.

The Texans considered moving back into the late first round, but apparently decided against it. And while I think getting Clowney and Bridgewater in the same draft would have been one heck of a coup, their sights clearly weren't set on the former Louisville quarterback.

The Texans had the night to reset and the morning to take a look at their draft board and decide what to do. We won't know for a while -- maybe a few more years -- whether they made the right move to watch Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater slip by. But what we do know right now is the Texans are doing what they said they would.

They are acting like they told the truth all along.
We continue our weekly checkups on the mock drafts by the Houston Chronicle's John McClain.

He gave quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel to the Texans in his first two mock drafts, and then created waves around the NFL when, after months of insisting there was no way the Texans' wouldn't select a quarterback, he switched to defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

The top five looked similar this week, but Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins jumped into fouth, ahead of Bortles and knocking Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews out of the top five. Matthews, by the way, is reportedly visiting the Texans this week.

When I asked McClain about switching to Clowney last week, he joked that he had three more mocks and hoped to get one right. But this time, McClain stuck with Clowney, who is quickly becoming the league-wide favorite in the attempt to guess the Texans' first pick. Teams around the league, not just media members, believe this will be the pick.

What does it all mean? It means if a team really, really wants Clowney, it will be thinking really, really hard about whether it can afford to jump into the top spot.

Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Texans 

April, 10, 2014
With the first overall pick in this year's NFL draft, the Texans could take a quarterback. Whether they will, and which quarterback that would be if one is selected, is yet unknown.

ESPN's Todd McShay took a shot at projecting which player the Texans will take with his latest mock draft Insider -- and the player he chose is a spark plug.

In his column Tuesday, our Dan Graziano began with the question this blog asks, only in affirmative fashion.


Are the Texans in a lousy spot in this years draft?


Discuss (Total votes: 2,284)

"The NFL draft is exactly one month away and, man, are the Houston Texans in a lousy spot," he writes.

He's not alone in that opinion and his rationale stems from his take on the quality of this year's quarterback crop. Graziano asserts that quarterback is, by far, the Texans' biggest need, and that there isn't an Andrew Luck in this year's draft.
"The quarterback class of 2014 is a collection of questions. Do you think you can turn a raw Blake Bortles into something special? Do you think Teddy Bridgewater is good enough to start right away? Can you get a Derek Carr or a Jimmy Garoppolo late in the first round or early in the second and expect to hit the lottery? And my goodness, what on earth do you make of Johnny Manziel?"

I present the question to you in poll form: Are the Texans in a bad spot?
Johnny ManzielAP Photo/Patric SchneiderJohnny Manziel took the unconventional step of wearing a helmet and pads in his pro day workout.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The metal door in the far corner of Texas A&M's practice bubble rolled up to allow two golf carts in at 11:07 a.m., still 15 minutes before the first incomplete pass Johnny Manziel threw. One carried former President George H.W. Bush, his wife, Barbara Bush, and a little dog, and as it rolled through a crowd of 75 NFL employees there to study one very polarizing quarterback, the spectacle traveled with it.

"They do things a little differently in Texas," Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said.

Even Manziel paused to notice.

"He turned back and said, ‘Oh that's the president,'" said George Whitfield, Manziel's private quarterback coach.

Then it was right back to business amid the cacophony, part of which he invited as a way to inject energy into his workout. Afterward, Manziel didn't quite remember the moment.

"I'm not sure, I was kind of trying to go 65-for-65," said Manziel, who met the former president the night before.

It was a pro day unlike any other, a circus some said, and when you're headed to the NFL, it's important to know you can handle a circus.

"I don't think you can name another person who's gone through college and been through some of the things that I have," Manziel said. "I'm well-prepared for that."

He entered to a sound track -- Drake, a nod to his rapper friend -- then called the scouts, general managers, coaches and executives to huddle around him so he could thank them for coming.

He started his workout without the music before he asked for it back on, but quietly to energize him. (The music was uncensored until the Bushes arrived, at which point some edited versions of the songs started playing.) He wore shoulder pads and a helmet, the brain child of a conversation with Whitfield before the combine. He asked Whitfield what NFL teams respect. A challenge, Whitfield told him, so he put on shoulder pads and a matte black helmet.

It was the first chance for league officials to see up close what they'd seen on film and at games during the season. Manziel didn't throw at the NFL combine, and he didn't throw at Texas A&M's pro day earlier this month.

"If it wasn't important, I wouldn't be here," said Texans coach Bill O'Brien, evaluating for what could be the first overall pick. "Believe me, I got my youngest son reading at Mass today in his Catholic school in Houston, so I'm missing that to come here. If it wasn't important, I wouldn't be here."

Manziel excelled in every type of throw he tried. He played from under center to show the footwork he thought the 30 teams in attendance wanted to see. He completed all but three passes, though only one was a bad throw on his part. And he threw a deep touchdown pass to very talented former Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans that ended the workout.

"BOOM!" Manziel shouted, before running downfield to catch Evans and leap into a hip bump.

The team personnel in attendance were nearly unanimous in their praise. Nearly. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who will meet with Manziel individually, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the workout was "different" and called it a "sideshow."

Manziel's flair can be both positive and negative at once. Some see it as confidence, others see it as a distraction. On one hand, he brings with him a spectacle. On the other hand, the NFL is a big spectacle in itself and any player hoping to succeed within that spectacle has to be able to handle that. Manziel certainly can. Through all his off-field foibles, he remained a spectacularly exciting and effective college football player.

On one hand, he wants to show teams a side of him that isn't generally part of his narrative.

"I'm taking it extremely serious, I'm extremely dedicated, extremely committed to this process moving forward," Manziel said. "I want to go into this and show these teams that who I am as a person and who I am in the football facilities that not everybody gets to see."

But on the other hand, the energy and electricity that comes with his usual narrative was a major positive for Texas A&M.

In that sense, he showed exactly who he was during a pro day extravaganza unlike any other. He took what's normally a sterile and stripped-down event and turned it into, well, an event. It's what Johnny Football does.
There are a wide range of opinions about former Texans A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who will try to cement his place at the top of the draft class with today's workout, where he's apparently planning to wear a helmet and shoulder pads.

ESPN Insider Todd McShay watched a great deal of film on Manziel, writing a report he said is only matched in length by those he wrote about Cam Newton and Tim Tebow in previous years. His conclusion:
I have Manziel ranked as the No. 3 quarterback in this class, behind UCF’s Blake Bortles and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, and No. 21 prospect overall. The 90 grade I’ve given him qualifies as a late-first-round grade and is a few notches below Bortles (93) and Bridgewater (92) and several notches below the top three overall talents in this draft: Jadeveon Clowney (97), Greg Robinson (97) and Khalil Mack (96).

If a team is considering taking Manziel with a first-round pick, particularly near the top of the draft with five of the teams drafting in the top eight having a need at quarterback, the general manager, head coach and offensive coaching staff all have to be on board with taking him. They have to be legitimate believers to the point that they’re all willing to fall on the sword if Manziel fails.

In particular, the coaches must have a plan to develop him, from improving his mechanics (continuing what’s worked for Manziel with his private QB coach George Whitfield) to tweaking the playbook to maximize his improvisation skills and adjust to his unique methods of approaching progression reads, to creating a detailed schedule for what hours he needs to be in the building during the season and offseason. And everybody needs to be convinced that Manziel will get on board with said plan.

You can read McShay's full report in this insider piece Insider. He rates Manziel as average in mental makeup and accuracy, above average in release/arm strength, and exceptional in pocket mobility.
Reading the coverage of the Houston Texans...

Johnny Manziel and Arian Foster caused quite the stir during Thursday night's Houston Rockets game by sitting next to each other courtside. I wouldn't exactly call this coverage to read, but here's Rockets center Dwight Howard's post-game Instagram with the two football stars. Foster with his characteristic sullen face and Manziel with a grin.

Speaking of Foster, he is not a fan of the NCAA tournament, the Texans running back made clear on Twitter, writes James Palmer of CSN Houston. It's not a surprise, considering many of his prior anti-NCAA statements.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says that while there are no indications the Texans are close to trading Matt Schaub, the signing of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fueled that speculation last night. McClain figures Fitzpatrick's $7.5 million contract will provide a cap hit of $3.37 million this year, leaving the Texans with $6.3 million in cap space.

He might not be one of the three most talked-about quarterbacks, but Fresno State's Derek Carr has a Houston connection just by his last name. He woke up with a bug on Thursday, writes Marek Warszawski of the Fresno Bee. And he performed well during his pro day anyway.


In a nutshell, that has always been my view on any team's ability to be patient with a quarterback. It doesn't always work out this way -- in fact it usually doesn't -- but rushing into a player's future before he's ready can have dire consequences for both the franchise and the player. It takes a rare patience, but the payoff is big.

This subject occurred to me upon reading Greg Bedard's piece yesterday on TheMMQB.com about Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles. He calls Bortles the player with the highest ceiling of any in the draft. And he says Bortles just isn't ready. It's the opinion of one reporter, but Bortles' rawness has been much talked-about and will continue to be. (I'll insert here, that I'm not making that judgment for myself, having not formed my own opinion about whether Teddy Bridgewater, Bortles, Johnny Manziel or another quarterback is the best of the group. What we're talking about is the concept of waiting.)

What happens when you start a quarterback who isn't ready? You can kill his confidence. You can give him a label that is hard to shed. You can set your franchise back and get coaches fired.

What happens if you wait out his growing pains? Another bad season could follow and, with an impatient owner, that could lead to firings, too. But with a patient owner, it could lead to planned development of a player who could guide the franchise for a decade.

The Texans do not have an impatient owner. Winning is important to Bob McNair, and recent moves and comments show that he does think it's close. But McNair understands the need for patience at the right times, and if he believes in the future of a quarterback and trusts his coach's ability to develop him, there won't be any reason for him to panic.

Ten years of great is better than one year of good any day. If the start of that 10-year period gets delayed a year or two, what's the damage?
Johnny ManzielChuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/Getty ImagesSteve Muench of Scouts Inc. says Johnny Manziel's freewheeling style doesn't translate to the NFL.
Russell Wilson's success is the worst thing that could have happened to the 2014 draft debate. Suddenly, no one thinks twice about projecting an exciting but undersized quarterback prospect as the No. 1 overall pick.

Here is the problem: Johnny Manziel is no Russell Wilson, who proved off the charts in every way except height in 2012 -- and still lasted until the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the third round. There seems little doubt that someone will make Manziel a first-round draft choice this spring, but the Houston Texans would be wrong to do it at No. 1 overall. The best parts of his college game will be less effective in the NFL, and there are at least four players in this draft -- including two quarterbacks -- who would make more sense at No. 1.

I discussed Manziel at length this week with Steve Muench of Scouts Inc., which evaluates and ranks college players for ESPN. Neither of us is sitting in the Texans' personnel meetings, of course, but we agreed on this set of scenarios if it were up to us:

If the Texans want a fresh start at quarterback to begin the Bill O'Brien Era, which makes perfect sense, they would be better off with Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. If they are concerned about Bridgewater's stature or "upside," O'Brien's background as a quarterback guru would justify the selection of Central Florida's Blake Bortles, who probably needs some development time.

Should O'Brien desire a lower-round quarterback to develop, Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. And if the Texans are willing to take a risk in exchange for perhaps the biggest reward of the 2014 draft, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would look awfully imposing on the same defense with All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt.

Manziel isn't a risky pick as much as he would simply be overrated at No. 1 overall. The myth begins with the idea that Wilson paved the way for Manziel to be accepted by NFL talent evaluators in a way that he was not. It's true both measured under 6-feet at their respective combines, and each ran the second-fastest 40 times for quarterbacks there. But Wilson's time was notably faster (4.55 compared to 4.68), and his hand measurement (10 1/4 inches compared to 9 7/8) gives him more control and better accuracy. His legendary leadership qualities, meanwhile, stand in contrast to Manziel's uneven off-field resume.

Most important, Wilson demonstrated in his final college season that he could excel as a pocket passer. Manziel struggled in that regard against SEC schools such as LSU and Missouri last season, requiring far more projection work than should be necessary for the No. 1 overall pick.

There is no doubt Manziel has some unique physical traits and running instincts that helped him make some special plays at Texas A&M. But an NFL team hoping to capture that magic outside of the pocket is going to be disappointed, according to Muench.

"What he's known for is his ability to extend plays and make highlight reel-type plays," Muench said. "That's entertaining and exciting to watch, but it doesn't really translate well to the NFL in the long term. He's going against better athletes who will do a better job of keeping him bottled up. The SEC is the best college conference, but it's not the NFL. There will be better athletes doing a better job of keeping him in the pocket there. Defensive coordinators, the more tape they see of his tendencies, the tougher it's going to be for him to win with pure athletic ability.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
AP Photo/Ben LiebenbergJohnny Manziel, center, hopes to be the No. 1 overall pick by Houston in May. His competition includes Teddy Bridgewater, left, and Blake Bortles.
"What we haven't seen, and maybe I'm being especially tough on him, is consistent success in the pocket. I don't know what he brings to you there. I think he has a hard time seeing the field. Has a hard time getting rid of the ball quickly. He's always trying to make something big happen."

Scouts Inc. gave Manziel a "4" rating for accuracy, Insider which is below average. If you're considering him at No. 1 overall, you're either planning an offense that features him scrambling as a primary strategy -- an unenviable task for a 5-11, 207-pound player -- or you're hoping he can remake his game. All successful NFL quarterbacks, regardless of athletic ability, make plays consistently from the pocket. In my mind, the No. 1 overall pick shouldn't enter the league needing a makeover.

"If you're a general manager," Muench said, "you ask, is this a quarterback who can take us to the Super Bowl? I'm not sure how you can be confident saying that given what Manziel will be up against. Can he make those changes? Sure. But that's a lot of projecting."

So what then? The Texans need a long-term plan at quarterback, and if they decide to go that route in 2014, Muench suggests Bridgewater because of his accuracy, sophistication in the pocket and toughness. Bortles is bigger, but still has good pocket mobility and, Muench said, "I wouldn't argue with them if that's who they decided to draft."

Robinson will be some team's left tackle for the next decade, but the Texans are two years removed from signing incumbent Duane Brown to a $53.4 million contract. That brings us to Clowney, who shook up the combine by running his 40 faster than Manziel -- and Wilson, for that matter -- at 4.53 seconds. Pass-rushers are perhaps the second-most valued commodity in football after quarterbacks, and the role of dominant defensive fronts in recent Super Bowl victories -- the 2007 New York Giants and 2013 Seahawks, among others -- makes Clowney a tempting choice to pair with Watt.

Clowney requires some projection, but it's a different kind than Manziel. To take Clowney at No. 1 overall, you must believe that his freakish athletic skills will generate more production in the NFL than they did in college. To be fair, that is hardly an unprecedented expectation. Last season's No. 5 overall pick, Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, nearly doubled his college sack total (4.5) as an NFL rookie (8.0). It can happen.

I will admit 2014 is the Year of Manziel. If you have a pick in the top half of the first round, one of your first decisions is to make a call on him. We've done that. The assessment here, based on Muench's extensive feedback, is the Texans would be better off taking Bridgewater, Bortles, Robinson or Clowney than Manziel at No. 1.

Jaworski on Manziel: 'He's a project'

February, 26, 2014

Some say former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has the talent and skills worthy of being taken by the Houston Texans with the No. 1 overall pick in May.

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski is not one of those people.

Jaworski went on a Philadelphia radio station on Tuesday to give his opinion on Manziel.

Warning, his comments weren't positive about the 2012 Heisman winner.

“Manziel may fall,” Jaworski told WPEN-FM in Philadelphia. “I’m not crazy about him, to be honest with you. I've only looked at five games. I wouldn't take him in the first three rounds. That's my opinion. It's incomplete right now. But he has not done a whole lot to me."

Jaworski appeared on SportsCenter Wednesday morning, talking about Manziel some more.

The Houston Chronicle posted part of the transcript from Jaworski’s appearance.

On his Manziel draft projection
“We have nine weeks to go before the draft actually takes place. I will have looked at all the games that Johnny Manziel has played, so my grade right now is incomplete, but I do not see very many redeeming qualities in his game that project him to be a first-round pick, a second-round pick and, to me, I think he’s a third-round pick and maybe later.”

Reasons for his projections
“There’s a way you have to play the quarterback position in the NFL. Maybe I’m a little bit old school, but I think you have to play the game in the pocket with consistency. The NFL game is about the pre-snap phase of the game, getting in the proper protection, then, when you drop back, reading coverage properly, getting the ball out of your hand early in time with your receiver so when they turn, that ball is there. And it is ball security in the pocket, taking care of the football. It’s mechanics in the pocket: your throwing slot is consistent. And right now, I see Johnny Manziel as a project, a guy that will go down as one of the great collegiate players of all time. I would pay to see Johnny Manziel play in a college game. He’s a great college player, but his game, just in my opinion, does not project to the NFL. He’s a project, and he’s going to have to spend some time working on his game.”

Will his projections change after he watches all of Manziel’s games?
“I don’t see him being elevated to the first round. He will probably move up as I look at more games.”

Should the Texans draft him?
“I can’t advise Bill O’Brien who to take, but I’m certain Bill O’Brien knows what he wants his quarterback to look like. And I actually think they have a quarterback on their roster in Matt Schaub that is the kind of quarterback that Bill O’Brien likes. I think he’s going to say, ‘Hmmm. I like this Schaub guy. He reminds me a little bit of Tom Brady in size and stature,’ maybe not the outstanding consistency of Tom Brady, but you have an experienced, veteran quarterback, you surround him with the right people, I think Matt Schaub can still play a very solid game in the NFL.”
INDIANAPOLIS -- The buzz Friday morning was about former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel being shorter than expected, with huge hands.

Manziel's hands measured at almost 10 inches -- 9 7/8 to be exact -- while he was just shy of six feet tall.

Good news for Manziel, who would love for the Houston Texans to take him first overall: coach Bill O'Brien doesn't care too much about height, but he does love a quarterback with big hands.

"It’s really important because of the grip of the football, especially in bad weather games when you have to grip the football," O'Brien said. "I think it’s an important trait for a quarterback to have."

O'Brien's apathy for the height stat stems from the fact that it's not complete enough to offer a full picture of the player's physical attributes.

"Is he a skinny 5-11 or is he a stout 5-11?" O'Brien said to a question that was not specifically about Manziel. "Does he have bigger hands or smaller hands. All those things go into it I think. It’s not just what his height is."

Beyond physical qualities, this is what O'Brien wants:

"Our quarterback will always have to have intelligence, toughness, the ability to think quickly, be a good teammate, be a hard working guy, be a guy who throws the ball accurately. Be a guy that can perform under pressure. So many of these games come down to the last two minutes of the game, we gotta make sure the guy that we have is a guy that can perform under pressure."

INDIANAPOLIS -- We began Friday at the NFL scouting combine with measurements at the start of the quarterbacks' journey.

Johnny Manziel wasn't quite six feet tall, like he insisted he was earlier this week. The former Texas A&M quarterback measured just a quarter of an inch short of six feet, but his hands measured a gigantic nine and 7/8ths inches, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. By comparison, Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins' hands measured at 10 inches last year. Another comparison: Russell Wilson was slightly shorter but with bigger hands.

Former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater measured at six-foot-two, 214 pounds with hands 9.25 inches. Amid all the Manziel madness, it's important not to forget about Bridgewater, a quarterback some people think will really impress Texans coach Bill O'Brien when they talk.

Former UCF quarterback Blake Bortles measured in at 6-foot-5, 232 pounds with nine and 3/8 inch hands.

We'll talk to Manziel on Friday at some point, and should get Bridgewater and Bortles, too.

Also on today's combine schedule are appearances from O'Brien and Texans general manager Rick Smith. This will likely be the last time we talk to them until just before the draft, so stay tuned for more on free agents, current Texans and their draft philosophies.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Texas A&M is quickly turning into O-Lineman U (or some other more clever version of that) with its latest offering: left tackle Jake Matthews.

But Matthews' media session today quickly turned to talking about his lightning-rod teammate: quarterback Johnny Manziel.

"I don't consider him a me-first guy at all," Matthews said, after being asked about Manziel's reputation as such. "My whole experience with him and having him as a quarterback was nothing but good things. When he was on the field he was just a tremendous competitor, great leader and someone that I loved playing for. I was glad to have him as a quarterback."

Manziel is a bit of a polarizing player. He was combustible in college on and off the field and some of those off-the-field antics are raising eyebrows in the pre-draft process. The Texans, who own the draft's No. 1 pick, have always talked about wanting guys who work hard and love football, and that won't change under the new regime. In Matthews' opinion, Manziel is that.

"Everything I've ever seen him do is all out," Matthews said. "He worked hard at everything he did. When it was time to practice, he would be out there competing just as hard as he would in a game. that's all I ever saw from him, nothing but good things."