NFL Draft Prospects: Chick-fil-a Bowl Recap

In what was arguably the best game of the New Year weekend the Duke Blue Devils and the Texax A&M Johnny Manziel's squared off in an offensive explosion. The final was 52-48 in favor of Texas A&M, it is hard to capture the essence of this game as you had Johnny Manziel pleading to his defense on the sideline to just get him a couple stops so he and his offense could go out and win the game. Down 21 at halftime, the Aggies came out with a different attitude in the second half and were able to get those stops and allow Johnny Football and that quick-scoring offense to do what they do best, score the ball. The defense then responded in huge ways as they came up with interceptions on both of Duke's last possessions, returning one for the game winning touchdown.

As far as the NFL Draft is concerned, there were plenty other players on the Texas A&M squad to watch along with Manziel, but let's be real, the first guy on this list is going to be Johnny.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Possibly the most popular college football player since Tim Tebow, I bet you've never seen those two names in the same sentence together. Manziel is a certified celebrity and has constant attention off the field, analyzing all of his moves and more. But on consistent through it all, it doesn't bother him on the field and he has maintained a very high-level of play for two seasons. I should say he has not declared for the NFL Draft yet, but in all likelihood he is turning pro.

What I liked:

Showed plenty of his “Johnny Football” magic throughout the game, very similar to Tony Romo’s ability to extend plays but even more so.

Used shiftiness and elusiveness in open field to make people miss, along with stiff-arm on numerous plays.

Showed a fiery desire to win and incredible competitiveness on the sideline and on

the field.

Throws a tight spiral on nearly every pass. Threw lots of NFL type passes on

outs to the sidelines or over the shoulder fly routes.

Showed he can make accurate throws on the move, against his body, moving

forward, all the necessary throws.

What I didn't like:

Should probably bulk up a bit as he is currently just 210 pounds at 6’1”,

d-lineman are a lot bigger in the NFL.

Stock Report: Up

455 yards (382 passing, 73 rushing) five touchdowns (4 pass, 1 rush) and leading a team from down 21 to a victory = Stock up.

Draft Day Projection: 1st round

It is interesting the way NFL teams look at Johnny Manziel. Some say he's not ready, some say he is. But the fact is, even if you don't think he is ready, you don't want him to land in your division so you don't have to face him. Scary upside if he stays focused on football.

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel's bodyguard is expected to be the first offensive lineman drafted and could easily go in the top-5 picks. Many see him going No. 2 overall to the St. Louis Rams.

What I liked:

Great size and strength (6' 5" 304 lbs).

Looked smooth and natural when pulling as the lead blocker and finding a second-level defender to block.

Holds position well, keeps feet parallel. Not sure I saw him on the ground in the game?

Really good using hands and foot placement to dictate direction on running plays.

Very consistent, solid performance all game.

What I didn't like:

Mum. Seriously, there was nothing.

Stock Report: Up

Can you go up from No. 2 overall? Probably not, but I mean there is the No. 1 pick?

Draft Day Projection: Top-10

Matthews has plenty of opportunities going forward to show off his impressive abilities and will do so.

Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Ogbuehi was asked to move outside to right tackle this season from his right guard position last season after Luke Joeckel went to the NFL. This dual-position ability adds some intrigue to A&M's second best offensive lineman.

What I liked:

Came back and landed huge block for Manziel to get around the corner.

Took speed rushers out of play nearly every time they tried to rush around the


Showed impressive run blocking when he initiated first contact and overpowered defensive lineman on multiple occurrences.

What I didn't like:

Showed impressive run blocking when he initiated first contact.

Doesn’t get low, stays high in his stance.

Didn’t see a delayed backside blitz and let him into backfield unblocked.

Has an odd technique where he lets his arms down to regroup before bringing them back up on many plays. Also had a block where instead of using both hands, threw his left hand like a roundhouse punch into the defenders left shoulder, almost like he pushed him passed himself. Block had little effect on play but still odd.

Allows defender to get hands on him first.

Stock Report: Down

While there was some good things I saw during the game there was more negatives. The technique needs to be fixed as opposing defensive linemen in the NFL will eat him up if he constantly exposes his chest and lets them initiate first contact.

Draft Day Projection: 1st-Round

This is his current draft projection but if he continues to use his hands and technique like he is then this could slip down a round or two.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Evans was relatively quiet in this game as he finished with only four receptions for 72 yards and didn't reach pay-dirt. Unfortunately, his biggest contributions were probably negative plays.

What I liked:

Showed good body control, stopped mid-route to come back for a back shoulder


Size will present mismatch for cornerbacks everywhere.

What I didn't like:

Got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty very early in game which cost team points as long field goal was missed. Lot of emotion coming out early in the game which is fine, but when you cost your team points that’s when it sticks out. Also picked up a second 15-yard penalty in the game.

Needs to improve his release off the line, gets off slow and easily disturbed in bump-coverage.

Stock Report: Neutral

Mike Evans didn't have a good game but his size and ability is enough to not make his stock budge after just one game.

Draft Day Projection: 1st-round

Evans is expected to land on a receiver-needy team at some point during the first round.

Other notes:

Texas A&M WR Derel Walker showed good yard after the catch skills and the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. Has great stop on a dime move, very shifty. Great concentration on an over the shoulder catch and able to stay up with cornerback on legs to get into end-zone. Walker is not a lock to get drafted in this draft but could make for a solid late round pick as a good-sized wide receiver.

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