We'll start by examining his traits, good and bad.
Manziel is great passer in or out of the pocket, with pretty good footwork and pressure recognition while inside it. Has the arm strength to throw the ball wherever he wants it, be that a 20 yard out route or a 65 yard hail mary. Unparalleled situational recognition and execution in tough yardage situations that allow drives that should probably end up dead to have a second life.
Has a Matthew Stafford mentality; more clearly, he had a very big, very elite WR in Mike Evans on his team in whom which he would intrust too much confidence in. Threw way too many 50/50 balls due to this, a lot of them the way too risky type that simply will not fly in the NFL. Get's too cute when pressure is on him and has a stubborn unwillingness to not let plays die due to this. Instead of throwing the ball away or tucking and running out of bounds he will force balls or throw interceptions in these situations.
As a runner he is very shifty and deceptively fast, but takes way too many hits and could use some coaching on ball security.
Overall, I think he is a fantastic prospect that will only need some slight adjustments to his mental game to become elite. As a physical specimen, the only thing he is lacking is around 2 inches of height.
I think the system to best utilize his talents and protect him would only need two things:
The most important in my opinion is an excellent pass blocking unit, including the RB's. This is so important to me because I do not want him taking near as many hits as the average NFL QB, being that he is so slight. Resigning Gerhart and Trading AD would make this so much easier.
Gerhart is an excellent pass blocker and I believe that he can be an excellent starting RB also, so this softens the blow a little bit; well that and the first and third we'd likely get from Peterson not to mention the 5,739,204,768$ in cap space. I will add that as a spot starter he has never dissapointed, and has occasionally been great despite never getting 20 runs in a game.
Then we would need to pick up a good stop gap LG not named Charlie Johnson and extend Brandon Fusco. Maybe draft a fourth or fifth round gaurd just in case. Our TE unit is already very good at blocking and our FB's are elite (MOAR!)
The second thing to do is pretty simple, fix the only other real problem we have with our offense (since Manziel would have fixed the QB and Charlie Johnson would be upgraded). Use the picks we aquired from the AD trade to go after one of either Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin, or Marquise Lee to be our deep threat. I like Benjamin the most as a deep threat, and he is coincidentally the least highly projected of the above.
As for taking full advantage of his running abilities, I probably would not. I'm fine with him scrambling when the pocket collapses and sliding or running out of bounds before he gets hit, but I wouldn't design very many plays for him as a runner. Perhaps some draws up the middle, but nothing more.
Doing all these things in one offseason is quite doable and reasonably realistic. This could likely produce a top 10 offense in 2014 and maybe an elite one in a few years.
Of course, all of this depends on Manziel falling to 8, though with the Peterson trade, we'd have plenty of valuable picks to move up to 6 and draft him.
What would you do to fix the offense,and how would you handle Manziel if we drafted him?
First fanpost in a long time, hope you guys liked it : )