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Lovie Smith a believer in Johnny Manziel

Believes Manziel can succeed in the NFL. Jason Butt

Print This April 14, 2014, 03:35 PM EST

With the time spent away from coaching, new Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith had plenty of opportunities to be a spectator this past year.

One of the players who he got to watch was Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

From what Smith saw, Manziel was every bit the player he heard about during his two years as the Aggies' signal caller.

"As far as how he'll take his game to the NFL level? I think most outstanding players in college, a lot of them, end up being a very good football player in the NFL," Smith told the Tampa Bay Times. "Football really is football. I know he's not your typical, prototype quarterback who drops back into the pocket, but there are a lot of quarterbacks doing well in the league that aren't your prototypical quarterback."

A traditional drop-back quarterback will generally be favored at this level, with a few exceptions. Manziel figures to fit that rule.

Regarded as a top 10 pick, he could go as high as No. 1 overall to Houston. But it's possible he falls, which could work into Tampa Bay's favor at seventh overall.

The Buccaneers will likely take a quarterback at some point this draft. They could use their No. 7 pick on one, or wait until the second or third rounds. 

Either way, Smith's comments indicate that if Manziel is available once the Buccaneers are on the clock, he'll be someone to watch.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

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