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Raiders checking out QBs at combine

Filed for print . . .

General manager Reggie McKenzie finally has a level playing field, but having more than $60 million available under the salary cap and a full complement of draft picks won’t get the Raiders turned around unless he finds a quarterback.

Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was under NFL scouting combine spotlight Friday at Lucas Oil Field. Manziel, along with Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Blake Bortles of Central Florida, are considered the three quarterbacks who could be worthy of the Raiders’ No. 5 pick in the first round.

The Raiders need many things besides a quarterback, and plan to adhere to their philosophy of serious-minded players who put the team first while evaluating more than 330 players this weekend.

Yet it’s clear if if McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen can’t find a solution to the most important position on the field, the jobs of both men could be on the line. Owner Mark Davis is watching closely, attending his first combine since taking over for his late father.

Manziel hit all the right notes in a jam-packed media session, promising to take the NFL seriously and hinting his hard-partying college days are behind him.

One problem _ he measured in at 5-foot-11 ¾, and only to quarterbacks 6-1 or under (Rex Grossman and Michael Vick) have been drafted in the first round since 1970.

“I play with a lot of heart, play with a lot of passion,’’ Manziel said. “I feel like I play like I’m 10 feet tall. A measurement to me is just a number.’’

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock ranks Bridgewater (6-foot-2 ¼, 214 pounds) as the most ready to play immediately. Bortles, at 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, has the prototype height and size and enough mobility to get out of trouble.

Allen, a Texas A&M alum, was complimentary about Manziel but stressed the Raiders had only just begun to dig into the backrounds of potential darft picks.

“He’s able to throw the ball from the pocket and can create things with his feet,’’ Allen said in his media session. “As we get more into the evaluation process, he’ll be a fun to to evaluate.’’

While Mayock said film shows Manziel as a quarterback who becomes less comfortable when kept in the pocket, Manziel said, “I’m looking forward to showing up all the people who say I’m just an improviser. I’ve worked hard at improving my all-around game.’’

In going 8-24 over the past two seasons, the Raiders have gone through Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryor, Matt Flynn and Matt McGloin as starters. Only Pryor and McGloin remain, and McKenzie and Allen are in agreement it’s possible neither is the club’s quarterback of the future.

Whether the Raiders have the right men in the building to identify the next quarterback is a fair question. Both McKenzie and Allen have backgrounds on defense, and the club whiffed on both Flynn by trade and in drafting the departed Tyler Wilson in the fourth round last season.

In a postseason meeting with the local media, McKenzie answered in the affirmative when asked if he was confident the organization could develop a quarterback. One NFL scout said the Raiders’ supporting cast is so suspect he’s not sure any quarterback could have flourished in Oakland last season.

Other notes and issues facing the Raiders as they go about their businesss in Indianapolis.

– When the draft convenes May 8-10, there is plenty of talent to choose from. Mayock called it the deepest draft he’s seen in 10 years.

– The Raiders have 17 unrestricted free agents on their roster, with whom they can negotiate exclusively until free agency begins March 11. They are are reportedly more than $60 million under the projected salary cap.

Left tackle Jared Veldheer ($11.1 million for one year) and defensive right end Lamarr Houston ($12.5 million) are candidates to get the franchise tag, although McKenzie would prefer to work out long-term deals.

Other players the Raiders are interested in bringing back are running back Rashad Jennings and free safety Charles Woodson, who Allen said “still has something left in the tank.’’’

– The Raiders, according to McKenzie, will seek a veteran quarterback in free agency even if they draft one. The pickings are slim, however, with notable names being Philadelphia’s Michael Vick and Minnesota’s Josh Freeman, who had his best season in Tampa Bay working with Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    Dion Jordan.. not a lot of production in college.. drafted 3rd overall

  • Dakota

    Signing some average free agents and crossing our fingers hoping that Reggie finally drafts some great players is not a reasonable rebuilding plan.

  • Dakota

    Is that why Heisman trophy winners have been so successful in the NFL over the past 20 years? Their great college production?

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    I don’t care who is on the Rams roster… you can never have too many pass rushers – ask the NY Giants! if Clowney is there at #2 he’s going to STL unless they decide to trade down, which i’m thinking there is a 95% chance of

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    thats the plan. cross your fingers!

  • Return

    Yep. I could see a bit of hesitation if they only had one pick. But they have two picks in the 1st round. Clowney will not get past #2.

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    Charles Woodson hater?

  • 0ak R8rs

    I don’t think he’s a fool. But his drafts have not produced so far. Additionally, he’s made some risky and irresponsible picks, and even been caught drafting for need a few times as opposed to BPA like he claims. I think the problem is organizational. He needs help. He needs a president and a director of player personnel. This org is still like a one man band it seems. Except now it’s Reggie instead of Al. Hard for anyone to do it alone.

  • J Hill

    And to heck with protecting Bradford with one of these franchise LTs???

  • kenchun24

    I kind of hope he does go to St Louis…the NFC West will continue to be a damn good division with defense (and maybe another defensive stud in The Clown) being the main focus for all four teams.

    It’s the ’80s/’90s all over again – AFC Conference pass happy offenses vs. tough/physical defensive minded NFC Conference teams and the ensuing result is NFC over AFC Super Bowl beatdowns like we saw a few weeks ago with the Hawks vs. Donks.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Nah. Joe Barksdale will do just fine for Bradford.

    Sarcasm font – off.

  • Dakota

    Andre Ware
    Ty Detmer
    Desmond Howard
    Gino Torretta
    Charlie Ward
    Raashan Salaam
    Danny Wuerffel
    Ricky Williams
    Ron Dane
    Chris Weinke
    Eric Crouch
    Jason White
    Matt Leinart
    Troy Smith
    Teblow
    Bradford
    Ingram

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    Jake Long & Roger Saffold are pretty darn good

  • 0ak R8rs

    They aren’t happy w Jake Long. That’s pretty well known in Rams circles.

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    dang like half of those busts played for Notre Dame!!

  • turf toe

    Hate this new discus/dashboard crap. Can’t reply back to any responses I received. It’s like being in a boxing match and you punch each other just once and the fight’s over.
    Only way around it is to ride the thread in real time. Why did they have to f— it up?

  • 0ak R8rs

    No. He won’t.

  • Dakota

    If we could trade Pryor for a late round pick that we can use on special teams player, that would be a serious upgrade.

  • turf toe

    Are you a diabetic?

  • turf toe

    I’ve heard it hurts like hell for a few months, then the relief is incredible. Congratulations.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Don’t you get emails? And fck you, wanna fight?

  • Chino

    Well I wouldn’t be disappointed if reg drafted greg Robinson. Man is a beast

  • Raider Rick

    He better get a playmaker and not trade down and grab garbage….Im thinkin he will trade down and grab Carr unless Monnesota grabs him first. Id go w Defense first but it is a deep draft…..plenty of quality players in the second round as well….

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    i’m ok with him or Matthews. BPA. don’t settle for Teddy. dude will be out of the league by age 26

  • turf toe

    HA. Love that one, Oak. FUYWF? That’s better than LOL.
    No, I do not post my email address on discus,
    But how do you reply to someone’s reply to you? I’ve tried everything.

  • Raider 8

    NO TEAM in league history has ever had this much cap space along with a top 5 pick.

    for god’s sake let’s have some expectations.

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    sorry. did Reggie get fired and it wasn’t made public?

  • turf toe

    Yeah.

  • Dakota

    No, no, no…..we have to keep that cap space and add one player per year in the draft….that is the 10 year rebuild plan.

  • 0ak R8rs

    I get an email every time someone replies to something I post. It’s in your settings. And I have an email that’s just for crap like this, so I don’t have to give up any personal info. The email comes w a hyperlink button that takes you directly to the response on whatever thread you’re on so that you can respond. Works pretty well. Be easier of you could reply directly to the email, not sure of you can or not. Haven’t tried.

  • Raider 8

    the water it down pessimists club says:
    -cap space has increased league wide making it harder on reg to get fa studs.
    -the schedule is hard.
    -guys need time to gel
    -next yr will be a better qb class

    …always pushing it to next year.

    screw that.

  • turf toe

    I wish Phil Jackson and Jeannie Buss would buy the Raiders.

  • Dakota

    I wish they would buy the LAKERS.

  • Dakota

    They like the progress they saw from 2011 to 2013…..you know….all those areas the team improved on:
    1. 32nd in the NFL in penalties to like 27th!
    2…….hmmmmm
    Okay, so that is the entire list of progress, but it is a start baby!

  • 0ak R8rs

    I’m afraid I’m part of that club. 2 decades of shtty football conditioning may have had an effect on me. But everything you just said actually makes sense to me. Except maybe the QB thing. I’m ok w Bortles I’m the first or Carr in the second of we can get them.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Yea. Not in they camp either.

  • turf toe

    Thanks, Oak. Still, liked it the old way. That little button with the numbers on it was easy. Also, still laughing about FUWF.

  • irjonny

    not to mention if hayden and watson don’t lock down their positions in 2015 its all on reggie and da. OT and CB should not be a need this year

  • 0ak R8rs

    Agreed. Risky and irresponsible picks. Need solid, no bullsht, no major surgeries or life threatening injuries in the last year, no boxers from foreign countries, picks.

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    slap yourself, phag

  • turf toe

    Dennis would have added “At the end of the day” to every one of those statements.
    I’m with you. Screw that.

  • J Hill

    CB id definitely a need.

    Porter and Jenkins were not inspiring.

  • Dakota

    I agree….Reggie’s only hope to keep his job is for us to see most of this happening in 2014: Hayden starting and playing well. Watson locking up the RT spot and staying healthy. Bergstrom grabbing a guard spot. Burris contributing on special teams and some obvious passing downs as a pass rusher. Sio getting better, and getting two great players and a couple of solid starters out of this draft class.
    No more excuses Reggie….you were supposed to be a good talent evaluator.

  • turf toe

    That too. Sigh.

  • 0ak R8rs

    You liked Bartell and Spencer and Adams better?? You get what you pay for. And they both played up to their pay grade and maybe a little beyond IMO.

  • irjonny

    I know one thing. if i’m refreshing twitter pages at 12pm est. on march 11th and all i see are this year’s best free agents signing with other teams i’m going to be really upset.

  • Raider 8

    no situation is gonna be absolutely perfect in every way but this is as close to that as we will ever see.

    i would take away the “guys need time to gel” thing. car and jax made it to their conf title games in yr two as expansion teams. no time needed to gel really. i think they both won 7 games in their FIRST yr. even.

  • J Hill

    agree that you get what you pay for.

    I’d like Grimes or a 1st rd pick at CB

  • 0ak R8rs

    That’s about exactly what I’m looking for. Anyone realize the 2012 draft, while I know we didn’t pick till 99th, so far is a complete bust? 0% productivity from that class last year. And not much better for the 2013 class. Not good. Not good at all. Granted, a lot of injuries there, which can’t be predicted. But at some point the guy picking the guys has to be held accountable, regardless of fortune or circumstances.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Prepare to be very angry. Just better hope you don’t see Veldheer or Houston going somewhere else on the 11th.