Combine Five, No. 4: Johnny Manziel

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
3:00
PM ET
Player: Johnny Manziel (going in alphabetical order)

Position/College: Quarterback, Texas A&M

Combine impression (1-10, 10 the best): Five.

Likelihood he's there at Browns' fourth pick: 50 percent.

Other teams interested: Houston, Jacksonville.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
AP Photo/Johnny VyJohnny Manziel made an effort at the combine to distance himself from his controversial image.
The skinny: Questions about Manziel will be asked and discussed right up until the draft in May. Yes, it could be a long 10 weeks.

There are those who love Manziel. George Whitfield Jr., his quarterback guru, sat in the second row during Manziel's interview at the combine, then talked him up after.

There are those who don't. Among them are Barry Switzer and Ron Jaworski, the ESPN analyst who said he wouldn't take Manziel in the first three rounds.

That's a pretty amazing admission from a guy who understands quarterback play as well as anyone. Consider that Colt McCoy was a third-round draft pick.

Manziel brings glittering numbers and a great deal of ability, but his size and tendency to run around have many wondering if he's simply too small to play in the NFL.

“There are a bunch of 6-5 successful guys who are athletic,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “The 5-11 guys ... it has to throw a question mark out there.”

Manziel says it's production that matters. True, but he's smaller than McCoy, smaller than Drew Brees. He accomplished a great deal in college, but now his game has to translate to the pros.

"I think he's a great little player,” Broncos vice president John Elway said. “I shouldn't say ‘little,' I'm sorry. He's a guy that's fun to watch on film. He's a great competitor and I think that's what his strength is. He is a great, great competitor."

Manziel wouldn't even comment when asked about his height.

"I feel like I play like I'm 10-feet tall," he said. "A measurement to me is just a number."

That was one of several good lines Manziel had ready for his combine interview, where one of his main goals clearly was to come across as a pocket passer. He said he can't wait to show folks he's more than an improviser.

But given the chance to throw at the combine and display those skills, he declined, preferring instead to wait until his planned and packaged pro day at College Station.

Manziel also emphasized that the Hollywood image of him is wrong. He said he's a small-town guy from Kerrville, Texas. But he just happens to be a small-town guy who was able to be seen at several major events across the country while in college.

All the statements along with with his pre-combine interview with two newspapers in Texas almost seem to show that Manziel is as focused on correcting the perceptions about him as he is confident in his ability. He's clearly gone to great lengths to try to prove he belongs in the draft's top four.

The others: Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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