2014 Draft

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Wonders If Johnny Manziel Can Take NFL Hits

On Tuesday, NFL Insider Jay Glazer reported that the Cleveland Browns won’t be drafting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel with their fourth overall selection in the first round. Also on Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger weighed in with his thoughts on Manziel with the 2014 NFL Draft set to begin on Thursday.

While Roethlisberger admits that Manziel is a talented athlete that’s fun to watch because of the jaw-dropping plays that he makes, he’s worried about his durability at the NFL level.

“It’s funny, because just the other day, I was in the weight room with Joey Porter, (and he was) asking me what I thought about Johnny Manziel,” said Roethlisberger in an interview on 93.7 The Fan. “I looked at Joey and said, ‘Joey, do you think if you got a good hit on him, that he would be OK? And he goes, ‘No, not at all.’ And that’s my question. You have guys like Joey Porter, who’s a big guy, or guys that are fast like Troy (Polamalu), Ike Taylor coming off the edge. Things like that. Lawrence Timmons. You’d better be real athletic, get down or be big. So I think he’s definitely got a lot of upside, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

One quarterback in this year’s draft class who Roethlisberger is high on is UCF’s Blake Bortles, who he’s worked with during the pre-draft process, as they share the same representation.

“I think he’s going to be the best one of the group because I see something in him, his competitiveness, his leadership. And I think he’s got a lot of upside,” Roethlisberger said.

Because of his size and style of play, Bortles has drawn comparisons to Roethlisberger and you have to wonder if the Browns are indeed not high on Manziel, that Bortles might be their first round selection if he’s still on the board come their time to pick.

As far as all young quarterbacks go, Roethlisberger reiterated once again that while they might play well during their rookie season, it’s even more impressive if they can do it year in and year out.

“The key I’ll say every year when I get asked this question about whether it’s RGIII (Robert Griffin III), or Andrew Luck, or whoever it is, Cam Newton. It’s not about your first year, it’s about years two, three and four. Can you sustain it when defenses like Coach LeBeau and the defense that he coaches- when they figure you out, can you find a way to stay a step above them?”

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