Jeff Saturday sees smooth transition for Johnny Manziel

Former Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers center Jeff Saturday has seen enough of former Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel to be sold on his ability to succeed in the NFL, and he doesn't want to hear about the competitive gap between the SEC and the Sunday league.

"He makes a lot of plays against good players that you're going to see on Sundays. So it's not like he's going to be that shocked (by) talent when he moves from the SEC to the NFL," Saturday told The Herd on ESPN radio. "A lot of those guys from the SEC are going to be first-round picks, and in a few years are going to develop into great players. There's not going to be the learning curve that everybody expects."

That's the sort of comment that rolls far more easily off the tongue of a former SEC player who echoes the pervasive sentiment that the SEC is on a competitive plane of its own between the NFL and the rest of college football. But Saturday isn't an SEC product, having played at a middling ACC program at North Carolina. And after spending his career snapping to two of the NFL's best quarterbacks -- Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers -- he's been around enough winning quarterback play on Sundays to know what it looks like and what is required.

Manziel shredded SEC defenses with relative ease for two years, amassing nearly 10,000 yards in career total offense and winning the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman in 2012. He did it from a shotgun offense that operated without a huddle and at a breakneck pace, something Saturday believes can translate as well, even though NFL quarterbacks primarily operate from under center.

"(With) the no-huddle, you can neutralize a lot with formations, with spreads, with motions," Saturday added. "You get to see defenses; they show themselves because they have to. You look at Seattle, as effective as they were, they're not complicated. They line and they say, 'Beat us.' "

Up first with the opportunity to take a chance on Johnny Football is the Houston Texans, who are in need of a quarterback and are facing some local pressure to make the Kerrville, Texas, native the new centerpiece of the Texans' offense.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread.*

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