College Football statistics concern themselves with the realm of the past; they tell the story of what was with very little ability to project what will happen. Were one to use CFB statistics to forecast the future, one would conclude that Case Keenum was the most toolsy QB in history and that Ron Dayne would go on to run rampant over a National Football League unprepared for his Achillean might. College Football stats are the Herodotus of scouting: they chronicle what has happened, aren’t much concerned with what will, and they have a very tenuous relationship with a certain mistress named Truth.
If CFB stats are Herodotus, then game film and scouting might be called College Football’s Thucydides. The tale of the tape confronts us with past performances, and while it is incumbent upon the reader to determine what this means for the future, one can glean a much more complete narrative – how good or poor a QB’s footwork is, how accurate their throws are, whether they’re playing behind an offensive line that weighs a total of 750 pounds. The tape provided us with a conflicting narrative for Johnny Manziel – a QB with abysmal footwork but core strength that resulted in rather good arm strength. If his leg drive were better/existant at A&M, his arm strength might have received a much higher projection.
During his pro day, he demonstrated much-improved footwork. But the resulting improvement arm strength was something no one could have predicted:
Manziel, it seems, has thrown a football from Berea, OH all the way to Cameroon, Africa. Directly east of Nigeria, Cameroon seems like a very strange target for Johnny Manziel to throw to. As of yet, reports are unclear whether Manziel intended to throw the ball to Cameroon, or whether he was aiming for Nigeria and overshot.
While the accuracy issues pose a question, it remains clear that Johnny Manziel now has the single strongest arm in the league – a terrifying prospect both by virtue of his now boundless potential, but also because of the grave, grave health threat now posed to his receivers. If Manziel feels compelled to throw between defenders, the zip he could put on the ball would pose a certain prospect of death or dismemberment to any receivers targeted.
Even before Manziel’s Mach-24 performance, his NFL prospects were divisive, and the question arose whether he was more concerned about his branding than his performance. This literal salvo to the African market is sure to only increase that polarization in the upcoming months.