Ah, the NFL Combine: where dreams are made or broken by tenths of seconds in a 40-yard dash time ... where one more or one fewer rep on the bench press can mean as much as how a player performed in a big game ... and where certain players just hope to lay low.


Or if you're Johnny Manziel: the place to try to rehab your image.

The biggest question of Manziel -- other than his height, which checked in at just under 6 feet (but it's OK because he has big hands!) -- is whether he can, in a sense, shape up and fly right.

And so he spent most of his time at the Combine trying to convince NFL teams that he isn't just a party boy -- that he wants to be a serious quarterback. Perhaps his best long quote comes from a sit-down with SI's Peter King:

“I’ve tried to be completely honest with the teams,” he said. “I was in college. I did some college things with my friends. I had fun, and the thing that I told some team tonight is, my Mom always told me, ‘There’s a time and a place for everything.’ There were points throughout the last year maybe I was a little bit out of that saying. I did things too much and maybe overly aggressive. At the same time, things progressed fast for me. A lot of things were thrown on my plate and pushed into my life, and I really ran with those. To get back to that saying, there’s a time and a place for everything. There’s a time to have fun, there’s a time to work.

“As rapidly as everything came along, having to learn from my mistakes, through all the trials and errors, learning from that, and at the same time, I had different obligations than really most anybody has had. I am the only person I know of that had a schedule directly tied with our director of football operations to do whatever it was the school was asking of me. And really I’m incredibly loyal to Texas A&M. It was the school that gave me an opportunity when not a lot of other places did. But I feel like with the media attention I had, the scrutiny, and everything that I went through last year, it directly prepares me for this.”

This could be game, set and match for our hopes that Manziel falls to the Vikings at No. 8. Unless some other story breaks before the draft that somehow damages his reputation, at least one of the QB-needy teams drafting before Minnesota is going to take him at his word and choose him.

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