Johnny Manziel should be the man

That one aspect of Manziel's game means he'll have a chance to prosper and possibly help an NFL team right away. Look at what Michael Vick did for the Atlanta Falcons in his first full season as a starter, when he led that team to the playoffs one year after being the top pick in the 2001 draft. We should also remember the buzz Carolina's Cam Newton created in his first season as well as the way San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick blew up with the 49ers once he became a starter. These players thrived early because they could make plays with their feet. Manziel could do exactly the same things for the Texans.

Aside from that, Manziel already is proving that he wants to take professional football seriously. He made a good enough impression at the combine that many teams came away feeling that he was more mature than they anticipated. He's also kept a relatively low profile since declaring for the draft, including making the wise decision to not attend this year's Super Bowl in order to continue focusing on his training. For all the comments about Manziel's partying lifestyle - which have reached the point that you'd swear he was the love child of Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan - he clearly understands this is the time when he needs to alter that perception.

It's also clear that Houston shouldn't be afraid of a quarterback with a few warts in his past. The Texans' previous two regular starters, Matt Schaub and David Carr, were incredibly nice guys. But Houston fans weren't praising Schaub's professionalism when he was throwing pick-six after pick-six last season before eventually losing his job. They also weren't that compassionate toward Carr, who was beaten into submission behind a porous offensive line before being run out of town.

In fact, it's fair to say Houston could use a lot more fiery personalities on its roster. For all the success that Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt has enjoyed in his brief career, he's not exactly an inspirational force. The same can be said of other Texans stars, including laid-back types such as wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster. Every team needs a player who is the emotional leader. Even Manziel's biggest haters have to admit his on-field passion gives him a chance to be that kind of player in Houston.

Now does that mean there won't be challenges if Manziel ends up in Houston? No. He will have to deal with the same learning curve that faces every young quarterback in this league. The upside is that more inexperienced signal-callers are growing at a faster rate these days (see: Nick Foles, Philadelphia) and the cost of using a high pick on a rookie quarterback isn't nearly as frightening as it was a few years back.

The question now is whether Houston has the courage to take a chance on Manziel. He's already dominated the toughest conference in college football and proven that he's willing to be more than just a playground playmaker. In fact, we just may be seeing a glimpse of what Johnny Manziel could become in the near future. And as he publicly said, the Texans will surely hate themselves if they end up watching that maturation from an opposing sideline.

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