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Aikman, Brees are high on Johnny Manziel’s NFL future

Texas A&M Aggies Johnny Manziel carries the ball as Alabama Crimson Tide C.J. Mosley and Ed Stinson pursue in their NCAA SEC game in College Station

Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (L) carries the ball as Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley (C) and defensive lineman Ed Stinson pursue in the first half of their NCAA SEC football game at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas September 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


Troy Aikman and Drew Brees know a little something about playing quarterback in the NFL, and they both think that Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel is going to have a big-time player on Sundays.

Aikman told Sporting News that in addition to Manziel’s obvious ability to make plays with his feet, he likes the way Manziel can throw the football.

“I got a chance to see his game against Alabama from start to finish, and I was really impressed with a lot of the throws he made,” Aikman said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that with his playmaking ability, he was doing it last year as a freshman against good competition, I would anticipate that he will go relatively high, whether he will be a first-round pick I don’t know, but I think he’ll be successful when he gets his opportunity.”

Brees told FOX Sports that the scouts who downgrade Manziel because of his height (Manziel is about six feet tall, same as Brees) don’t understand what’s really important to playing quarterback in the NFL.

He is a heckuva player,” Brees said of Manziel. “He’s fun to watch. He makes all kinds of plays. He’s got all the playmaking ability to be a great player. [There are] guys like [Manziel] in this league. Russell Wilson and his ability to run the football and extend plays outside the pocket and throw the ball down the field. . . . There’s way too much weight put into physical stature as opposed to can you find the open guy. Can you deliver it accurately? Can you make plays? Can you lead your team to victory? Can you lead them? Period.”

Manziel isn’t viewed as a sure-thing prospect, and few people think he’ll be drafted ahead of players like Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. In addition to the questions about Manziel’s size, some question his ability to pass from the pocket, and there are also his off-field activities to consider. But people who know the quarterback position seem to like the way Manziel plays it.