I heard a strange phrase last week from the mouth of a well-respected NFL analyst on the evil four letter network. Chris Mortensen stated that Johnny Manziel may have too much heart for the NFL. Having a lot of heart is usually a compliment for any sport, especially in the NFL where you are required to absorb big hits from even bigger players. But in this case it was a negative comment when concerning Manziel. Mortensen said that he thought the former Aggie QB had more heart than brains, meaning that his style of play would lead to injuries in the NFL.
Johnny Football does have a ton of heart, not to mention a load of talent. He showed that every time he suited up in college. And he is definitely not a dumb guy, he knows that running around like a wild man can get him blindsided at any time. I halfway agree with Mortensen, in that Manziel will have a hard time making himself play a safer version of his game. It is in his nature to do what is necessary to make a play, on every single play during a game. However, if he does have a good head on his shoulders, and any sense of self preservation, he will quickly adapt to the NFL.
One good example of a quarterback that may have too much heart for the NFL is Mike Vick. Manziel should watch some tape on him if he wants to see what not to do on a regular basis. Vick was one of my favorite players to watch. He was just unbelievable on the field. The consequences of his ability to make plays with his legs though, were a pile of injuries over the years. Had Vick been a bit more careful with his body and more selective about when to take off on the run, then he may have avoided many of those injuries.
One current NFL quarterback that Johnny Manziel should look to for a style of play that he could replicate is Russel Wilson. The Seattle QB knows when his team needs him to run for a first down, but he also knows when to fold and just punt the ball away. Wilson is one of the best QBs in the NFL already, and he is not without heart at all. He just knows what is best for his body in the long run, and what is best for his team.
If Manziel can adapt quickly to the speed of the NFL and can have the self-control to only take chances when absolutely necessary, he should be a very good pro QB. He will need to evolve fast though, or else he could get jacked up in his rookie season. The young quarterback is about to be drafted by a team that expects their fortunes to be changed by the guy. He can meet those expectations, if he lets his brain control his heart a bit more on Sundays than he did on Saturdays.