Johnny Manziel was sidelined briefly by a knee and shoulder injury in back-to-back games in 2013, but returned both times. (John Bazemore/AP)
On the eve of the 2014 NFL Draft, prospects will be hearing the final wave of praise and concerns that will outline whether or not they will be able to succeed at the next level. For Johnny Manziel, many of those concerns center around his off-field personality and whether he will be capable of taking the beating that NFL quarterbacks will take.
Because of his Manziel's small stature, (6-0, 207 pounds), Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is among those who believe that Manziel may have a hard time taking the big hits that he will be prone to in the pros.
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“I was in the weight room the other day with Joey Porter, [and he was] asking me what I thought about Manziel,” Roethlisberger said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I looked at Joey and said, ‘Joey, do you think if you got a good hit on him, that he would be OK? And he said, ‘No, not at all.’ And that’s my question.
“You have guys like Joey Porter, who’s a big guy, guys that are fast like Troy [Polamalu], Ike Taylor coming off the edge, Lawrence Timmons. You’d better be real athletic, get down or be big” to absorb the pounding an NFL quarterback can take.
“I think he definitely has a lot of upside, but let’s wait and see. The key I’ll say every year when I get asked about RGIII, Andrew Luck, or whoever it is, Cam Newton. It’s not about your first year, it’s about years two, three and four.
“Can you sustain it when defenses, like Coach [Dick] LeBeau and the defenses he coaches, when they figure you out, can you find a way to stay a step above them?”
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There have been smaller quarterbacks that have found success, such as Drew Brees, but the New Orleans Saints quarterback does not have the same reckless style that Manziel brings to the field.
Throughout his collegiate career, Manziel has taken some unnecessary blows that have left him limping to the sidelines, and those same blows at the next level could easily land him on the sideline for an extended period. Michael Vick is a prime example of why teams will have to be worried about Manziel's size.
On Thursday night, we will finally learn where Manziel will play his professional ball, and then it will be on the team's coaching staff to teach Manziel to slide and avoid the unnecessary hits that could leave him injured thanks to his small frame.
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