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Johnny Manziel has future in NFL, UA coach Nick Saban says

The latest in-depth insider look at the NFL potential of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel includes a pro endorsement from none other than Alabama coach Nick Saban, among other validations for the sophomore and defending Heisman Trophy winner.

"I think Johnny's a unique player," Saban said. "Many people have said about these guys, like [Robert Griffin III], that they're not really NFL-style quarterbacks. But yet they're all doing pretty well in the NFL. I think when somebody's as instinctive as [Manziel] is, and as fast as he is, and as athletic as he is, and he's developing into a pretty good passer -- I mean last year he really developed as a passer -- I do think he has an NFL future."

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There was also this commentary from an AFC director of college scouting: "If he's 6 feet or over, I think he's definitely going to be a guy who's draftable, and with the success and production he's had, shoot, he could be a high pick. I never would have thought that before this season. I thought he was like a 5-10 guy just running around."

Finally, former Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage, now the executive director of the Senior Bowl: "The bottom line is he threw the ball down the field, and it was accurate and in stride." ... "Best point guard in college football. He's got eight eyeballs."

Despite Manziel's performance -- 562 yards of total offense, the most anyone has ever compiled against the Crimson Tide -- doubters remain. This from an AFC general manager: "He's in the toughest conference in the nation, and the production that he's had in that conference and against the best team in the country [Alabama] -- he just dices them up -- he made it look easy. That definitely has to be in the equation. ... Do I think he's a legit NFL quarterback? I say no. He doesn't do enough in the pocket."

Some NFL clubs will have the same questions after the season as they have now: 1) Is he big enough? 2) Is he mature enough? 3) Can he consistently make NFL-caliber throws? Manziel can post as many big numbers statistically as he wants, and those questions will persist until he's opted out of college, whenever that may be, and works out for scouts up close.

But the Aggies' superstar is certainly changing opinions along the way.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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