Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie isn't the only NFL executive intrigued by what Johnny Manziel brings to the table.
A high-ranking personnel man for another NFL team, speaking on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons, told USA TODAY Sports he has written up more than 150 players in the 2014 draft class and Manziel is best of the bunch.
That includes talented South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney, who is among the likely candidates for the No. 1 overall pick held by the Houston Texans.
"He's a playmaker," McKenzie told news reporters of Manziel on Thursday. "… Whether it's him or any of these other guys, when you can add a playmaker to your team, that's what you're shooting for."
The personnel man predicted Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, will be a top-10 pick despite concerns about his size (narrow-framed and generously listed at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds) and off-field persona.
Manziel, 21, took an average team and made it competitive in the SEC. He plays with fire. His college coaches are telling scouts he took a step forward this past season with his game preparation, film study and leadership.
There are comparisons to a young Brett Favre, who poured everything he had into football when he was in the building – and had his share of fun once he left.
"From an athletic standpoint and a competitive standpoint, I think Manziel is very, very talented," said Greg Gabriel, the longtime NFL scout who was the Chicago Bears' college scouting director from 2001 to 2010.
"That immaturity is the thing that could really hurt him in the NFL. He's got to take the NFL seriously and he can't be out partying until 2 in the morning. If he can grow up, I think he's got a chance to be a pretty good player if he gets drafted by the right team and in the right system."