By the numbers: Can Manziel succeed?

As rookies report to Browns’ camp on July 23, all eyes will be on the most scrutinized rookie in the NFL, Johnny Manziel. Analysts are split on whether Manziel will be able to make the transition to the NFL given his reckless style of play and reliance on his legs. Below are three numbers that suggest that Manziel could succeed in the NFL and three that suggest that he may struggle.

Three numbers that suggest that Manziel could succeed in the NFL:

1: Johnny Manziel’s QBR rank in 2012

Manziel had the highest Total QBR in the FBS in 2012 and ranked seventh in 2013. Every player who led the country in Total QBR from 2008 to 2011 is a current NFL starter, including three players who led their respective teams to the divisional round of the playoffs last season.

Leader in College QBR - 2008-2012

Manziel had a 88.2 Total QBR in his two-year career at Texas A&M. No college player in the last 10 seasons has had a higher career QBR than Manziel among players who started at least two seasons.

73.5: Manziel’s completion percentage from inside of the pocket

Manziel had the highest completion percentage from inside of the pocket of any AQ quarterback in 2013.

Seeing over tall linemen was not an issue. Only three of Manziel’s 347 pass attempts from inside of the pocket were batted down at the line (0.9 percent) in 2013, well below the AQ average of 2.1 percent.

97.5: Manziel’s Total QBR on third down in his career

Manziel’s career 97.5 Total QBR on third down is the best of any qualified quarterback in the last 10 years (the start of Stats & Info’s data set).

Third-down performance in college has been shown to translate to NFL success. Among the 25 quarterbacks who were selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft from 2009 to 2013, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford had the top third-down QBRs in college.

Those players were a combined 38-17 last year, and Manziel’s third-down QBR was far ahead of theirs in college.

Three numbers that suggest that he could struggle:

76: Percentage of dropbacks Manziel escaped the pocket when under duress

Manziel left the pocket on 76 percent of the plays in which he was under pressure in his career, by far the highest percentage of any AQ quarterback in the past two seasons and more than twice the rate of the NFL average (33 percent).

As Merril Hoge noted in a pre-draft breakdown, “He has an instinct to run, but that’s a bad instinct if you have that in the National Football League.”

73: Percentage of Manziel’s scrambles on which he was hit

There is no denying that Manziel was in a league of his own when it came to scrambling in college – he scrambled for 1,400 yards and 64 first downs in two seasons at Texas A&M, which was 521 more yards and 15 more first downs than any other AQ quarterback during that time.

Most Scramble Yards in NFL
Last 2 Seasons

Yet Manziel rarely ran out of bounds or slid. Overall, he was hit on 73 percent of his scrambles, slightly above the AQ average and a significantly higher percentage than the NFL average last season (56 percent).

Other than Newton, who is the average weight of a linebacker, all of the top scramblers in the NFL have learned to avoid contact.

55: Average temperature of Cleveland’s games the last 5 seasons

Cleveland’s average game-time temperature in the past five seasons has been 55 degrees. It drops to 49 degrees when looking at the 40 regular-season home games. Only Pittsburgh and Green Bay had a colder average game-time temperature during that time.

Manziel played high school and college football in Texas. In two years at Texas A&M, the average temperature of Manziel’s games at kickoff was 71 degrees, and he did not play a single game in freezing temperatures. His coldest game came against Missouri on Nov. 30, 2013, a game that Texas A&M lost 28-21, when it was 45 degrees. Every other game that he played in college was at least 55 degrees.