Jim Harbaugh: Johnny Manziel can be instant success in NFL

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 49ers aren't in the market for a starting quarterback, but Jim Harbaugh said Thursday he has checked out some Johnny Manziel game tape.

"(I was) impressed," he said.

We asked the khaki-clad coach if he thinks Manziel can be a star player right away.

"Yes, I think he will," Harbaugh said. "He's very competitive. He's a winner. I think those qualities translate very well to the NFL."

It's not a surprise that Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback that had a flare for the dramatic himself, likes what he sees in the former Texas A&M signal-caller. While there's widespread agreement that Manziel is a rare talent, there are some doubts within the scouting community about how his game, trademarked by his ability to use his legs to make plays (albeit less frequently in his sophomore season than his freshman campaign), will translate in the pros.

Harbaugh no doubt has heard similar doubts about whether quarterbacks with unconventional playing styles can succeed at the next level -- just think back a few years ago, when San Francisco snagged Colin Kaepernick in the second round.

If Bengals owner Mike Brown had it his way in that draft , maybe the 49ers would be considering a Harbaugh-Manziel union this year.

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