When the NFL combine rolls around one of the most prevalent questions when discussing an NFL draft prospects is asking who the draft prospect compares to on the NFL level so it’s easier to understand how the player will translate from the college game to the pro game.
One of the most interesting comparisons of one of Johnny Manziel, one of the top draft prospects in 2014 comes from former Super Bowl winning head coach Barry Switzer in a wide-ranging interview with Grantland where Switzer compares him to Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson in their ability to dominate
Switzer was asked which one player player he would start a team with and after passing on Peyton Manning, Switzer made the cross-sport comparison to the greatest basketball player to ever live and the only player to ever average a triple-double in an NBA season.
Here is the excerpt from 32 Minutes and 42 seconds from Grantland:
“Well, Peyton is at the twilight of his career … This might surprise you, but I think the most dynamic player…
I’ve seen Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. I’ve seen Oscar Robertson play live. I saw him against my college team as a sophomore for Cincinnati. With three minutes left to go in the game, my team had 54 points and Oscar had 56, so he’s outscoring my team. He’s the only player, and then Michael Jordan comes along, but [Robertson's] the only player that can take control of a game and win a game by himself.
Well, let me tell you, Johnny Manziel is the first football player I’ve ever seen that can control the game like those guys did basketball. It’s unbelievable the numbers that he can put up against the competition game after game after game.
I don’t like some of his antics. I’m sure Kevin Sumlin didn’t either. That all aside, let me tell you, he is a great, great football player. And I predict he’ll be drafted within the first five picks if he’s not the first pick overall. I bet he’ll be no. 1 on a lot of people’s board.”
If you thought the Frank Tarkenton comparisons for Manziel were a bit much, certainly the Jordan and Robertson comparisons are an example of hyperbole at its finest.
Manziel over Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers or any other current NFL player for a 5-11 quarterback who has never played a down in the NFL and he’s being compared to two of the greatest basketball players of all-time?!