2014 NFL Rookie of the Year Betting: Where does Johnny Manziel fit in?

johnny-manziel-brownsIf you’re looking for a favorite to win the 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is certainly an intriguing name. According to our sportsbook at GTBets.eu, he currently carries the second-best odds at 8-to-1, tied with Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron and Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans. All three currently trail Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins, whom we’ve given 6-to-1 odds of winning the ROTY.

Anyways, focusing on Manziel, does he really have what it takes to be a dominant player in his rookie season. Well if we’re judging this based on offseason activities, Johnny Football may not be the best-prepared player when the 2014 NFL season kicks off. He set an unofficial record for partying with the most celebrities in his very first offseason, something that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has finally gotten tired of. “I think the really great athletes make their news on the field, not off the field,” Haslam said. “Has that message sunk in yet? We’ll see.”

Of course, few people are doubting Manziel’s on-field skills. The Texas A&M product became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy award after passing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for over 1,000 yards. In all, he tallied 7,820 passing yards, 63 passing TD’s, 22 INT’s, 2,169 rushing yards and 30 rushing TD’s in his two years with the Aggies. And that’s what Manziel would like everybody to remember going into the season as he stated:

johnny-manziel-browns-1Here’s the thing I want to say. The reason I’m popular, the reason people follow me and there’s been such a buzz around me, when I went out on Saturdays at Texas A&M, I played with an extreme amount of passion and I played with my heart on my sleeve. But more than anything I had fun. I had fun playing this game, I had fun going on out on this field playing football. That’s what I live for, that’s what I do. The same thing off the field. Whether I’m going out and playing golf, whether it’s going out and having the nightlife, whatever it is, I’m having fun. That’s what my life is. And luckily for me I’m living out my dream of playing in the NFL, having a ton of fun.

Manziel went on to say that he doesn’t want to use being 21 as an excuse, but he still has some maturing to do. These aren’t usually the comments that we hear from future rookie-of-the-year winners. So this definitely casts some skepticism on how the quarterback could perform in 2014. Another thing that Manziel has to worry about is Brian Hoyer, who showed some major promise last season.

Hoyer played high school ball at Cleveland St. Ignatius, went undrafted from Michigan State, then backed up Tom Brady in three seasons at New England. He’s an unheralded, gritty player who’s spent most of his career as an understudy – pretty much the opposite of Manziel. If the latter doesn’t look ready, Hoyer is more than capable of starting a portion or all of the year, as he proved by racking up 615 passing yards, 5 TD’s and 3 INT’s before getting injured.

So the first step for Manziel will be proving that he can play the position better than Hoyer, which is no small task. Assuming Johnny Football can win the starting job at some point, the next task will be rekindling some of that magic he showed at Texas A&M. Given his multi-threat skills, this isn’t an impossible feat. But Manziel is going to have to remain 100% focused moving forward.

College Football Power Rankings for Week 4 (Sept. 20th, 2013)

alabama-texas-amNow three weeks into the 2013 college football season, we’ve already see some big matchups. The most notable involved the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide taking on Mr. Heisman Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies last weekend. Despite strong performances by Manziel, WR Mike Evans and RB Ben Malena, the Tide proved too much to handle. That said, it’s little surprise who our top team is in this week’s power rankings.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0); beat Texas A&M 49-42 – Alabama may have given up 628 yards of total offense to the Aggies, but then again, they were facing an elite team. The Tide did what they needed to do to win, and put lots of points on the board themselves.

2. Oregon Ducks (3-0); beat Tennessee 59-14 – Oregon hung the first loss on a previously unbeaten Tennessee team, and looked incredible while doing so. Marcus Mariota showed why he’s one of the top prospects heading into the 2014 NFL Draft after putting up 456 passing yards and 4 TD’s against the hapless Vols.

kenny-guiton-osu3. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0); beat Cal 52-34 – Most teams would struggle mightily in the absence of their Heisman Trophy candidate. But the Buckeyes just inserted backup QB Kenny Guiton for Braxton Miller (sprained MCL) and scored 52 points on the Golden Bears. OSU still hasn’t been beaten since 2011.

4. Clemson Tigers (3-0); beat NC State 26-14 (Sept 19th) – You could make a case for the Tigers being as high as number two on this list. After all, they beat Georgia to open the year and polished off a tough NC State team on the road. Assuming the wins keep coming, Clemson will keep climbing.

5. LSU Tigers (3-0); beat Kent State 45-13 – The Tigers quickly put the Golden Flashes away after scoring 21 points in the first quarter. Following two easy home victories, they face their biggest test since TCU, as unbeaten Auburn comes to Baton Rouge.

6. Stanford Cardinals (2-0); beat Army 34-20 – Few people expected Army to go into the half only trailing by 7 last Saturday. But the Cardinals were able to pull away thanks to a pair of second-half Tyler Gaffney touchdowns. Stanford will try to look more impressive this week against fellow unbeaten Arizona State tomorrow.

teddy-bridgewater-draft7. Louisville Cardinals (3-0); beat Kentucky 27-13 – Nobody expects the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry game to be a cakewalk. And this was definitely the case in the first half as the Cardinals led just 10-3 at the half. Interestingly enough, Louisville relied on RB Senorise Perry (100YDS, 2TD) to carry them in the second half, rather than famed QB Teddy Bridgewater.

8. Texas A&M Aggies (2-1); lost to Alabama 49-42 – A&M is hurting after a close loss at home to the Crimson Tide. But with a ton of offensive talent and plenty more quality opponents on the schedule, the Aggies’ title hopes haven’t been dashed just yet.

9. Georgia Bulldogs (1-1); beat South Carolina 41-30 – Nobody’s going to argue with Georgia’s early strength of schedule after facing Clemson and South Carolina to open the year. The Bulldogs piled up 536 yards of offense to top the Gamecocks and avoid starting 0-2.

10. Florida State Seminoles (2-0) – Star freshman QB Jameis Winston is definitely living up to the hype after throwing six touchdowns in his first two games. And as many people have pointed out, this is more than the five incompletions he’s thrown. Assuming Winston remains poised, FSU should be undefeated when they travel to Clemson in Week 8.