Johnny Manziel lauds Russell Wilson


Johnny Manziel realizes that his height -- or lack thereof -- could become a point of concern for NFL executives as the draft combine approaches.

But Manziel cites Russell Wilson's recent success as proof that shorter quarterbacks can thrive in the NFL.

"I think he's kicked the door wide open," the 6-foot Manziel told the Houston Chronicle. "You're seeing more guys being successful avoiding that first wave of pressure -- get out and do things outside the pocket."

Wilson, who stands 5-11, helped lead the Seattle Seahawks to a blowout victory over the Denver Broncos two weeks ago in the Super Bowl.

A third-round draft selection in 2012, Wilson has thrown for more than 3,100 yards and 26 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons with Seattle.

"Wilson does some things he's not asked to do when things don't go exactly as scripted," Manziel told the Chronicle. "He's able to extend the play.

"One reason they were so successful early in the Super Bowl was that he was 4-of-5 on third down and was able to continue to push the ball down the field and get them where they needed to be."

Manziel is widely considered as one of the top quarterbacks in this year's draft and was projected as the No. 1 overall pick to the Houston Texans earlier this month in ESPN Insider Mel Kiper's latest mock draft.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, Manziel claimed he will measure at exactly 6 feet tall this week at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

"I'm going to measure 6 feet. I'm 72 inches on the dot," Manziel said. "If they want to try to jump on my shoulders and squish me down, it's not going to be any less than that."

Manziel, like Wilson, has proved to be a dangerous runner -- a trend the former Texas A&M star said will continue.

"The game's evolving," he said. "More and more [pass-rushers] like [Jadeveon] Clowney are coming out of college, and they're big and they can run. You have to be able to create plays.

"I want to be a pocket passer too and be able to pick apart defenses and beat teams with my arm. But when a play breaks down, the scrambling and running ability [take over], and we're back to doing what I've been doing the past six years playing football."