Johnny Manziel: 'I want to be better'
NEW YORK -- On the eve of the NFL draft, Johnny Manziel said he has no idea which team will pick him but that any quarterback-needy team that passes on him will regret it.
"I believe they will, personally," he said Wednesday at a league-sponsored function in Lower Manhattan. "I know in my heart how good I want to be and how committed I am to this game."
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The former Texas A&M star, projected as a possible top-10 pick, is confident he has alleviated concerns about his off-the-field habits. Clearly, though, he's still bothered by the perception that he's a schoolyard quarterback.
"I see there's room for me to improve, but to say I'm just a backyard-football quarterback, I don't think you do what I did in college and do some of those things [with that style]," he told about 40 reporters. "I don't think that's extremely fair. I hear it, but for me, I know it's all about my work ethic and my will to get better. That's very alive and inside me."
No player in the draft has been scrutinized more than Manziel, arguably the most polarizing prospect in this year's class. In a 20-minute interview, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner mentioned several times that he just wants to play football again, wherever it might be.
"I don't want to be what I was in college," he said. "Obviously, I want to be better."
Manziel has been hounded by questions regarding his celebrity status, about whether he cares more about the limelight than football. He believes he's done "a great job" throughout the scouting process of erasing those concerns.
"[Teams] have been getting to know me on a more personal level, and I've answered every question, anything they've wanted to hear from me -- so there's nothing for me to hide," he said. "I don't think it's wrong of me to enjoy my life and have fun. But throughout this whole process, I've continued to work hard and do that thing I need to do to become a better player."
Manziel has been linked to the Cleveland Browns, who own the fourth and 26th picks. He said he had a positive meeting with coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, adding, "I think it would be great" to play in Cleveland. But he added that he'll be happy wherever he lands.
"Whether it's 1 or 200," he said, "I'm just ready to get back on the football field and start playing football."
Source says Manziel will be walking to the song "Draft Day" by his friend Drake when he is selected.
There has been speculation about the Dallas Cowboys, although owner Jerry Jones all but ruled it out Tuesday. Manziel said he grew up a Cowboys fan in Texas and he expressed his admiration for Jones, whom he described as "a huge figure in the state of Texas."
But the Cowboys aren't picking until 16th, and, "I'd obviously like to go a little bit sooner than that."
Manziel said teams "are holding their cards really close to the vest," so he has no clue about the latest draft buzz. Until Thursday night, he expects to enjoy his time in New York.
"People from Kerrville, Texas, don't make it to this stage," he said. "It's just really crazy for me to think that I'm here."
Information from ESPN.com's Darren Rovell was used in this report.