After taping an episode of his TV show with first-round draft prospect Johnny Manziel, Super Bowl champion coach Jon Gruden compared him to former San Francisco 49ers star quarterback Steve Young, and is sold not only on Manziel's ability to succeed in the NFL, but in his maturity as well.
"I don't think anything is going to be pure in the pocket. He has his own style of playing quarterback. He reminds me a lot of Steve Young when Steve Young came out of Brigham Young," Gruden said, according to coachingsearch.com. "My dad drafted him out of the USFL. He was a wild horse back there, but when he did scramble, it was really exciting. Manziel has a lot of similar qualities, but he can adjust and become a pocket passer."
Gruden's Quarterback Camp show on ESPN will include some of the draft's most high-profile quarterbacks, as it does every year. The Manziel episode will air on March 27, the same day the quarterback will perform for NFL scouts at his pro day. Manziel recently completed his round of testing and interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine. Among the questions NFL clubs surely had for Manziel related to his reputation for partying, but Gruden's experience with Manziel while filming the episode left him convinced it won't be an issue.
"I don't have a lot of concerns with him after being with him the last couple of days. The past is in the past. He's had a good time as a lot of college students have had. He's had access to things that you and I have never had access to," Gruden said. "I think he's learned how to say, 'No.'"
Of greater concern to Gruden will be Manziel's ability to stay healthy, given his reckless style of play and scrambling tendencies. Gruden said hits on Manziel at the NFL level "must be minimized." Other quarterbacks to be featured on the series this spring include UCF's Blake Bortles, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Alabama's AJ McCarron, Fresno State's Derek Carr and Clemson's Tajh Boyd, among others.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.