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Steve Young: Johnny Manziel can be Drew Brees

  • By Dan Parr
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Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young sees rare traits in Johnny Manziel that might eventually make him an NFL superstar, but only if Manziel is willing to work to change his game.

Count Young among those that think all the things that made Manziel great in college won't necessarily work at the next level.

"He's the guy that seems to really thrive in chaos," Young said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. "That's an innate quality that I don't see very often. I think Johnny is very improvisational. I think that that's a fun part of the game. The truth is that in the NFL, the job is to deliver the ball from the pocket. That's the job. So he's going to have to transition that.

"That'll be the challenge for Johnny -- if he's willing to do the boring work behind the scenes day in and day out, over years, he can be Drew Brees. He can be (like) guys that have moved around in their careers -- Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers could scramble around for 100 yards if he wanted to, but he's learned the game. That's what Johnny is going to have to do."

So, while Young obviously isn't making any guarantees about how Manziel will fare, he sees the potential for him to be the next Brees (a 6-foot tall QB, just like Manziel), and any team that drafts Manziel would be more than satisfied if he can become anywhere close to that type of player.

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Young's old go-to guy, fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, said last month on NFL Network's "Total Access" that he actually thinks of his former 49ers teammate when he watches Manziel and was asked about the comparison during the Yahoo interview.

"Johnny is not the biggest guy, but he has an exceptional heart," Rice said. "Steve was the same way when he first came in, he was more of a running quarterback, but then he wanted to become more of a pocket passer."

Of course, the questions about Manziel extend beyond whether he'll ever settle in and become more of a pocket passer. The concerns about some of his intangibles have helped make him the most polarizing prospect in the draft. And as for opinions of him -- everyone seems to have one, and we're keeping track of them.

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