Improved pocket passing
Manziel completed 73 percent of his passes from inside of the pocket this season, best among quarterbacks from BCS automatic-qualifier conferences (AQ conferences) and up four percentage points from last season.
He completed at least 65 percent of his passes from inside of the pocket in every game but one this season.
Manziel completed 48 percent of his passes thrown 25 yards or longer this season, up nine percentage points from last season and in the top 10 among AQ quarterbacks.
Manziel had at least one such completion in every game he started this season.
In terms of comparisons to recent draft picks, among first-round picks in 2011 and 2012, only Robert Griffin III had a higher completion percentage on passes of 25 yards or longer than Manziel in his final year of college. Griffin’s was a hair better -- 52 percent.
Manziel had an AQ-high 589 rushing yards on scrambles this season, 95 more than any other AQ player.
Since the start of last season …
• Manziel has gained 1,393 yards and scored 15 touchdowns when scrambling, both of which rank best among AQ players.
• Manziel has scrambled for 30 first downs on third down, 14 more than any other AQ player.
• Manziel has completed 54 percent of his passes and is averaging 9.4 yards per attempt when forced to scramble out of the pocket.
The AQ averages are 36 percent and 5.2 yards per attempt during that time. Manziel has 23 completions of 20 yards or longer in such situations, 13 more than any other AQ player.
Making it count in tough situations
Manziel has also excelled at moving the chains with both his arm and his feet. Since the start of last season, he has the highest total QBR on third down, and only Jordan Lynch has rushed for more yards on third down than Manziel.
Manziel’s 97.0 Total QBR and 53 percent first-down conversion rate in third-down situations leads the nation.
A big concern about Manziel is his size. He is listed as 6-foot-1, 210 pounds on Texas A&M’s roster.
There are 12 active NFL quarterbacks listed as 6-1 or shorter, and only four of them -- Russell Wilson, Kellen Moore, Drew Brees and Case Keenum -- are listed as weighting less than 210 pounds.
Manziel’s small stature has not adversely impacted his ability to see the field.
He has only had 12 of his 864 passes batted down at the line (1.4 percent). That is actually below the AQ average over the past two seasons (1.9 percent).
Stat of the day
Manziel led the nation in opponent-adjusted QBR in 2012 (he finished third in 2013), and rates third-best over the last two seasons combined. That stat would be indicative of a reasonable chance of being an NFL starter. The three quarterbacks who finished No. 1 from 2009 to 2011 are among the NFL's best-- Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson.