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Gruden: Manziel 'has a lot of magic to him,' compares to Favre

Jon Gruden compared Johnny Manziel to Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young in February, and this week, Gruden compared Manziel to future Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

Gruden met with and worked out nine quarterbacks this year for his "Gruden's QB Camp" series on ESPN and told USA Today that Manziel stood out.

"It takes courage to pull the ball down and reverse field and do some of the crazy things that Favre and Manziel do," said Gruden, who was a Green Bay Packers assistant in 1992-94 and worked with Favre. "There's going to be consequences when sometimes it doesn't work out. But it takes a tremendous amount of guts and courage to go make a play when there's nothing there instead of throwing the ball away."

Gruden also said "Johnny has a lot of magic to him. There's not a more exciting college football player I've seen in the last few years." Gruden lauded Manziel's fortitude: "He's got more guts than most guys have."

Manziel left Texas A&M after just two seasons of college football, but Gruden spun that as a potential positive.

"If you get him with a quarterback coach or anybody that aspires to be a quarterback coach and spend the time teaching this kid NFL defenses and your system, I can't imagine Johnny not being successful," Gruden said.

In February, Gruden said the concern over the "Johnny Football" persona was somewhat overblown, and he did tell USA Today that it was an issue.

"Nobody is perfect, but you certainly don't want your quarterback flying around during the week. You don't want to read about your quarterback in the newspaper every day of the week," Gruden said. "I think he's learned a lesson, but he's got to prove that."

Manziel is in play to be the No. 1 pick of the draft, and Gruden said it should be a "big concern" for the Houston Texans if they play the "What-if? Game": What if they bypass Manziel and he turns into a star? But Houston also is considering South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, and the Texans likely are playing the "What-if? Game" with both of those guys, too, especially with Clowney.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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