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Mayock: Manziel better out of college than Kaepernick, Wilson

The excitement over Johnny Manziel's pro day has swept up NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock, and it seems he is fully embracing it.

After taking in the workout at Texas A&M last week and finally having a chance to catch his breath and reflect, Mayock whipped plenty of folks into a frenzy when he made Manziel his top quarterback in his latest positional rankings Monday.

Appearing on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft," Mayock had a chance to explain his decision.

"At some point, you have to trust your gut," Mayock said. "He's got the 'it' factor. He's a playmaker. Number two, his arm is every bit as good as almost every quarterback in this draft, including Blake Bortles.

"Finally, I believe he'll learn to win from within the pocket," he said. "If he can learn to win within the pocket and still has the spontaneity and big-play ability, I think you get the best of all worlds."

The praise didn't stop there.

Everybody is familiar with some of the crazy -- some coaches might label them infuriating -- plays Manziel makes with his feet, but it's clear that Mayock has dug deep on what Manziel can do as a passer. Mayock not only liked what he saw at the pro day in terms of arm strength, but believes that Manziel can make all the throws to join some elite company at the next level.

"I think he's a better thrower than either (Colin) Kaepernick or Russell Wilson were when they came out (of college)," Mayock said. "This was the most different evaluation I've ever done. At the end of it, you just trust your gut."

That's impressive company, considering both young quarterbacks went to the Super Bowl within two years of being drafted. Wilson is frequently pegged as a comparison for Manziel because of his height and ability to move out of the pocket.

While Manziel did not run a ton of zone-read plays in college, his speed and quickness could put him in position to mimic what Kaepernick has done in the NFL to keep defenses on their heels.

Five of the six latest mock drafts have Manziel going in the top 10, from No. 5 overall to the Raiders to No. 8 to the Vikings. Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley was around Wilson during his time on the Seahawks staff, and the Jaguars could also be a landing spot with the third overall pick.

Not everybody will agree with Mayock and his analysis, including teams picking early in the 2014 NFL Draft. Fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah is one person who isn't budging -- so far -- in his ranking of Manziel and holding firm on Teddy Bridgewater as the top quarterback on his big board.

Will a team take a chance on Johnny Football in the first round? It seems highly likely, and they'll be getting a very good quarterback if Mayock's latest rankings are to be believed.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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