"The kid's got the balls of a burglar."
That's what former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon thinks of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Gannon dropped the line in an interview with Peter King for Monday Morning Quarterback.
While Manziel is only 6 feet tall, Gannon says he's comparable, in some respects, to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“You talk to the people in Pittsburgh about Ben Roethlisberger," said Gannon, "Mike Tomlin says, 'There’s gonna be three or four plays every game where he runs around and makes six guys miss and then gets sacked and loses 10 yards. But we have to tolerate because of the couple times a game where he does that and he throws for a 70-yard touchdown.' That’s who he is. You’re going to have to take some negative plays, because that’s who he is. You can’t take that natural instinct away from him.”
NFL executives have been puzzling over the polarizing Manziel in advance of the draft, which starts May 8. Is he the next great thing, or more trouble than he's worth? The Vikings are said to be among the teams most likely giving Manziel serious consideration.
Gannon, who played for the Vikings from 1987-1992, isn't a believer in or a doubter of Manziel. He likes Manziel's ability to create plays, but thinks he needs to develop better footwork and patience in the pocket.
In an interview with the Pioneer Press, Gannon said drafting Manziel in the first round would be "foolish."
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says missing on a quarterback in the first round can destroy or delay the growth of a franchise, kind of like what happened to the Vikings in 2011 when they used the No. 12 overall pick on quarterback Christian Ponder.
Meanwhile, Jay Glazer is hearing that one team, an unnamed team, has Manziel as the No. 1 quarterback on their draft board. If it's the Vikings, they'll have to hope he's available with the eighth pick. The draft is one week from today.