Johnny Manziel reminds Brett Favre of himself in college

Johnny Manziel has a fan in Brett Favre. (USATSI)
Johnny Manziel has a fan in Brett Favre. (USATSI)
Earlier this week, future first-round pick Johnny Manziel credited Russell Wilson's recent success with opening the door for short, mobile quarterbacks everywhere (Fran Tarkenton and Doug Flutie would like a word). But Manziel's style is less about his stature than his play-making ability both in and out of the pocket. And it reminds the ol' gunslinger, Brett Favre, of himself back during his college days.

"I haven't watched him much," Favre told recently, "but one game I watched, for like three quarters, was the Ole Miss game."

That was back in October when Manziel threw for 346 yards, ran for 124 more (including two TDs) and led Texas A&M to a 41-38 comeback victory.

"I almost thought I was watching film of a young Brett Favre," said Favre, now 44 and still retired since calling it a career after the 2010 season. I didn't think I did a lot of things well (in college at Southern Miss), but he did. And and I liked the attitude of 'whatever it takes' — from that standpoint, I liked him."

Meanwhile, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said during a Tuesday conference call that Manziel reminds him more of two of the trailblazers mentioned above.

"He was like a combination of Fran Tarkenton and Doug Flutie," he said before adding that Manziel was "different than any quarterback I've (studied) before, but I believe in the kid."

And the newest addition to CBS' The NFL Today team, Tony Gonzalez, had a more contemporary comparison.

"Johnny's more along the lines of RG3, which could hurt him," Gonzalez told "He'll make a good transition to the NFL but, for me, he needs to work on that pocket passing. There's such a thing as young running quarterbacks, but not old running quarterbacks."

This is the time of year when critics try to out-shout one another when it comes to evaluating prospects, and one of the concerns about Manziel is his arm strength. But Mayock says he loves Manziel's lively arm and Favre, who was known to sling the ball with some pace, said "I didn't throw near as well as him. He may have that capability -- unbelievable throws and can makes plays with his feet. I was impressed."

Now all that's left is for Manziel to show up at the draft with jorts and a mullet.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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