Jon Gruden’s quarterback camp on ESPN is a great show for the NFL fan who loves the pre-draft behind-the-scenes look with some of the top prospects in the draft and this year’s edition will feature arguably the biggest guest yet as former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will be on the program.
Gruden gave a sneak peak into what he thinks about the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and what the former Aggies quarterback needs to work on so his college success translates to the NFL and if the Houston Texans should take him first overall. Quotes courtesy from Pete Roussel of Coaching Search.
On the distractions that have surrounded Manziel in his past:
“I don’t have a lot of concerns with him after being with his the last couple of days. … All he wants to do is play quarterback and I think all the distractions are behind him, but I’d keep a close eye on him as I did with all of my young players.”
Would he want Manziel if he were still coaching?
“If I was coaching today, I would want a quarterback like Johnny Manziel. It’s hard to find a player that can create offense on his own. He does things that Brett Favre did when I was in Green Bay. He does things that Ben Roethlisberger does for the Steelers.”
Who does Manziel remind you of and what offense is tailored to his skills?
“He reminds me a lot of Steve Young out of Brigham Young. … I’m going to put a system in very similar to what the 49ers run, some west-coast passing patterns that I think fit his game. I’ll put it some strong running plays with play-action. And I’ll certainly put in the spread up-tempo option series that they ran so well at Texas A&M.”
Should the Texans draft him first?
“It’s going to be a tough call. I got a kid coming in here from Central Florida [Blake Bortles] that I really like. It’s going to be a situation that you have to continue to look at. What offense do you want to run? What commitment do you want to make to that offense? But I would be very comfortable with Manziel on my team.”
Gruden certainly sounds intrigued by the skills Manziel possesses and the types of things he can do on the football field, but is cognizant of the fact that you would have to tailor your offense around him and need the commitment of the entire offensive coaching staff to bring out the best of Manziel.
The most telling thing from Coaching Search’s piece is that Gruden is not concerned with his past and the off-the-field distractions that have surrounded him the past two seasons.