Some people are saying LSU QB Joe Burrow could be the next Johnny Manziel — and that is a scary comparison for NFL teams thinking about selecting Burrow early in the upcoming NFL draft. Manziel was an offensive star in college at Texas A&M and a first-round draft pick, who ended up being a bust in the NFL — partially due to off-the-field issues that plagued him.
With Burrow projected to be the No. 1 overall pick, he will have even more pressure on him to perform in the league. But will he go down in flames like Manziel did?
Similarities between Joe Burrow and Johnny Manziel
Manziel won the Heisman Trophy in 2012, his freshman year, while Burrow won the Heisman as a fifth-year senior at LSU this past season. Both players are big quarterbacks, with Manziel 6’1″ and 210 pounds, and Burrow measuring in at 6’4″ and 216 pounds.
After Burrow won the Heisman, he led the Tigers to the CFP National Championship with a couple of big performances — especially in the semifinal, when he went 29-for-39 for 493 yards, seven passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown against Oklahoma.
Manziel also played a bowl game against the Sooners for his post-Heisman matchup. He also led his Aggies to a victory over Oklahoma in that Cotton Bowl with a good performance in which he threw for 287 passing yards, 229 rushing yards, and four total touchdowns in the game.
The two also share a knack for making jaw-dropping plays. Both posses incredible instincts that allow them to do things others can’t. It’s these types of plays that set them apart.
Differences between Burrow and Manziel
Joe Burrow and Johnny Manziel have different styles as quarterbacks. Manziel is more of a running quarterback, and Burrow is more of a pocket passer. In his two seasons at A&M, Manziel carried the ball 345 times for 2,169 yards — averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
In his two full seasons as a starter, Burrow had roughly half that rushing average; his 243 carries for 767 yards average out to 3.2 yards per carry. Burrow is a more accurate passer than Manziel and he doesn’t turn the ball over as much as Manziel did.
Manziel threw 22 interceptions in his collegiate career, but Burrow threw the ball to the other team just 11 times in his two seasons at LSU. Burrow’s 11 interceptions are fewer than the 13 Manziel threw in his last season with the Aggies.
Another difference between the two — which could be big as Burrow enters the NFL — is the LSU alum is older, more experienced, and — likely — more mature. Manziel left college early to enter the draft at 21. Burrow spent five years in college and will be 23 when he is drafted and enters the league.
How Johnny Manziel’s NFL career ended
Manziel spent two seasons with the Browns and played in just 15 games, eight starts. Manziel dealt with some injuries during his career, but he also had off-the-field issues which were his biggest downfall in the NFL. He had alcohol and drug issues — his father once told ESPN that Johnny is “a druggie. It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie. Hopefully, he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses.”
Manziel was also under investigation for a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend, after which the Browns officially released him for what the team said was a continued disregard for the “expectations for our players on and off the field.”
Even when he was on the field, Manziel’s performance was underwhelming for a first-round pick. He had seven interceptions and seven touchdowns in his 15 games. So will this happen to Joe Burrow? Probably not.
He has not had any of the off-the-field issues that Manziel did in college, and he has not publicly displayed any abuse of alcohol or drugs. As long as he can perform to expectations on the field, Burrow should have a longer NFL career than Manziel did.