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Bucs GM unconcerned about Johnny Manziel off field

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not consider Johnny Manziel's off-field behavior in its evaluation of the former Texas A&M star, and will give heavy consideration to making him the No. 7 overall pick of the NFL draft next week.

That is, if he's even available.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht told the club "enjoyed every minute" of Manziel's visit to the team's facility, and downplayed scouting concerns about his reputation as a partying celebrity.

"A lot of the situations he's been in you can't blame him for. If I were young and had a Heisman Trophy on my mantel, I'd probably be in a lot more trouble than the next guy," Licht said. "So I think we're just going to make the best football decision, what's best for our football team and I think Lovie and his staff can handle the rest of it."

Licht cited coach Lovie Smith's Texas roots (Smith grew up in Big Sandy, Texas) as a nice fit with Manziel, and said the club was very impressed with the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner's interview.

His praise of Manziel comes at a time when multiple indicators suggest that Manziel will be a top-10 pick next week. NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported that multiple NFL teams would be surprised if Manziel fell out of that range. NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said Manziel is worthy of a top-10 pick for teams that are unconcerned about managing his superstar status -- something Licht is now on record for -- and believe he can win from the pocket.

It would only take one club with the same convictions drafting ahead of the Bucs, however, to beat Licht to him. Four of six teams drafting in front of Tampa Bay -- the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders -- are in need of a quarterback.

Then again, Licht may just be posturing to trade down if Manziel reaches No. 7 and another club is intent on getting him.

After all, it's the time of year where posturing is the norm.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread.*

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