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Fran Tarkenton says Johnny Manziel is 'closest thing I’ve seen to myself'

Frank Tarkenton compares Johnny Manziel to himself in advance of 2014 NFL draft Johnny Manziel is expected to be a top-five pick in the NFL draft. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Former Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel is one of the most controversial draft prospects in the 2014 class, but he has received a handful of solid endorsements from those who believe he will be able to shine on the NFL field.

The latest man to back up Manziel is NFL legend Fran Tarkenton, who sees plenty of similarities between his game and Manziel's.

"Nobody really played like I played. This kid plays like I did more than anybody else," Tarkenton told USA TODAY Sports. "He's the closest thing I've seen to myself. Russell Wilson has some of it. But Manziel has those similarities even more so than Russell.

"Manziel is a quarterback savant."

MORE COVERAGE: 2014 NFL Mock Draft Database | 2014 NFL draft Big Board

Tarkenton, who measured in at exactly 6-feet during his playing career, understands that some may criticize Manziel for his lack of size, but it all comes down to having a grasp on the game and being able to spin the ball.

"People are going to say, 'Well, he's only 5-11¾ tall,'" Tarkenton said. "I wasn't as big, strong and fast as all these other players. But I knew how to play."

If Manziel's play can lead a team to the success that Tarkenton had with the Minnesota Vikings, where he appeared in three Super Bowls and had a combined 50,677 yards on the ground and through the air, someone is going to be very happy with taking the gamble on a truly dynamic quarterback.

GALLERY: Johnny Manziel's rise to stardom

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