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Browns coach compares EJ Manuel with Cam Newton

By Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com

EJ Manuel has reportedly seen his draft stock rise in recent weeks. (USATSI)

Perhaps no quarterback's draft stock has fluctuated as much as EJ Manuel's in recent weeks, as the former Florida State signal caller has been projected as high as the Top 10 and as low as the third round amongst a wide sampling of mock drafts.

One coach of a team with a need at quarterback, though, reportedly has a high opinion of Manuel. When Manuel visited with the Browns last week, coach Rob Chudzinski compared him favorably with Cam Newton. Before coming to Cleveland, Chudzinski spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Panthers.

"I think coach Chudzinski sees a lot of Cam in me, so that's kind of in my favor as far as being a guy that's very similar to Cam's playing style,” Manuel told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “Coach Chudzinski did a great job with Cam, and you saw how well he transitioned to the pros. He was Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl (quarterback).”

With needs at cornerback, wide receiver and inside linebacker, the Browns could wait several rounds before targeting a quarterback in this week's draft. The Bills , Jaguars , Jets and Eagles have also reportedly expressed interest in Manuel. Of the 23 players invited to attend the draft, the only quarterbacks on the list are Manuel and Geno Smith.

Despite checking down frequently in Jimbo Fisher's offense, Manuel has displayed strong arm strength in pre-draft workouts. Manuel had 32 completions of 25 yards or longer in 2012, while Smith finished with 39, according to cfbstats.com. The Browns will look to stretch the ball vertically in Norv Turner's offense. If Manuel is selected by Cleveland he could compete with Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell for the team's starting quarterback spot.

"I expect to be drafted fairly high and I definitely think I could come in and earn that (starting) spot,” Manuel told the Plain-Dealer.

Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter @mattrybaltowski.

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