It's unclear who held the record for the most hyped pro day in NFL draft history, but it doesn't matter anymore. On Thursday, Johnny Manziel is setting that record.
Manziel is having his pro day workout for scouts on Thursday. NFL Network has a 90-minute show scheduled to cover it live, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. And this isn't your normal pro day, judging by the guest list. Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Gov. Rick Perry and former President George H.W. Bush are among those expected to be in attendance for Manziel's pro day.
All to watch a guy in shorts throw the ball around. But, Johnny Football has never been low key about anything.
While the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy will have his every move watched by powerful politicians and a live television audience, one group matters above all: the Houston Texans.
Houston has the first overall pick of the draft and the Texans have done a tremendous job concealing their plans for that selection. They've offered very few clues. Coach Bill O'Brien said the team will draft a quarterback ... but that doesn't mean they'll draft one first overall. O'Brien said he doesn't think any of the top quarterbacks are head and shoulders above the rest, and maybe that means he doesn't think any are worth the first pick ... though it might just mean Houston has a tough decision with the top pick.
Maybe general manager Rick Smith had a slip to USA Today when asked about concerns that Manziel would not fit in O'Brien's offensive scheme.
"That's not an accurate statement at all,'' Smith said. "Bill O'Brien is a creative coach. He's an innovative coach. And if he had a guy like Johnny Manziel, he'd figure out a way to utilize his skills.''
Smith paused, then, chuckled.
"Now when you write that everybody is going to say, 'We're taking him,''' he said. "Which I love.''
Hey, it's not much, but we have no other evidence at this point.
The Texans met individually with top quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater at their pro days, and will do the same with Manziel. The Houston Chronicle wrote that the team plans to have all three quarterbacks come to Houston for more individual pre-draft meetings.
And at Manziel's much-anticipated pro day, O'Brien said he's looking forward to seeing how much Manziel has improved since his season at Texas A&M ended.
"Has he improved footwork-wise, throwing motion, knowledge of coverages?" O'Brien said. "You can see a lot in a pro day, but in a private workout, you're one-on-one, and the prospect is taking your instruction right from what you say. And he's doing things that you're going to have him do in your system, whether it's offense or defense."
Manziel will have a chance to show off his skills, most notably his arm strength and accuracy, with fellow top prospect Mike Evans as his main receiving target. The Texans obviously haven't ruled out taking Manziel first overall, but many other teams will be evaluating Manziel on Thursday in case Houston goes in another direction.
One thing is for certain: There will be a lot of people watching Manziel's workout on Thursday. It might be a while before there's another pro day like it.
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- Sports & Recreation
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