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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

  • 0ak R8rs

    Of course they do. Just saw one first hand last year w Palmer. And there were others. It’s gonna happen. I’m about 66% on it. I was higher on it till the damned salary cap went up $7 million. Took some pressure off some previously cap strapped teams. Lowered our bargaining leverage somewhat. Sucks.

  • Dakota

    So Johnson might be willing to stick it out in Houston, but you hope he forces a trade and you think he would be okay with coming to Oakland?
    Okay…..

  • Dakota

    Bortles or Watkins. A LBer is going to do nothing for us.

  • irjonny

    hey i wouldn’t complain with either of those. Mack is my pick though

  • 0ak R8rs

    Well, I already said our QB situation is no better. So that would obviously be a sticking point. Maybe he would just want a change of scenery? Who knows. Johnson is just one example, and a good one when talking about trade value equity vs cap hit. But of course trades don’t happen in a vacuum. It’s possible he would want nothing to do w us. I’ll admit that. Because we suck. But maybe Jake Long? St. Louis isn’t happy w him. Or somebody else? Point is, if we can get the guy to come here it’s a smart move. Same applies to FA btw. Lots of those guys you r looking for won’t wanna come here either.

  • marks hair

    Hes a top wr in this league. Earns his $$.. why would you trade your best play for scraps?

  • marks hair

    Palmers jag

  • 0ak R8rs

    Because he’s gonna cost them $50 million over the next 3 years and he doesn’t wanna be there. Why they would wanna trade him is an easy call. Getting him to come here to Oakland might be trickier.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Huh? “Just as good?”

  • 0ak R8rs

    Right. I’m exactly the same way. Bortles if he’s there. Watkins if he isn’t. Trade down won’t break my heart as long as Reggie doesn’t fck up the pick.

  • marks hair

    Moving your trade up here.. comparing us trading Carson Palmer for scraps to Houston trading away Andre Johnson, an All Pro wr, is crazy talk..
    good players don’t get traded for late picks.
    Cp3′s jag…

  • Michael

    Rex Grossman was a first round pick?

  • Dakota

    C3P is just a god compared to what we had last season lol.

  • The Beeeeech Dawg

    Oak Dork, a 40 is a large bottle of beer, fyi

  • 0ak R8rs

    Well we wouldn’t get him for a conditional 7th like Palmer. But we could get him for a 5th. Maybe a 4th. IF he’s truly unhappy. And IF Houston doesn’t wanna pay him $50 million over the next 3 years. He’s a way better player than Palmer. But his contract is way bigger. Which brings his trade equity back closer to Palmer. Although it’s not apples to apples of course.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Haha. No. Well maybe, but he wasn’t worth $10 million. An he likely would have been planted by week 3 w us anyway.

  • Michael

    No self respecting man drinks any type of “beer” that comes in a 40oz bottle…

  • 0ak R8rs

    Yep. So was Tim Couch. The long line of first round QB busts is eternal.

  • plunkhead

    Any truth to the rumor that Mark is trying to lure Harbough across the bay? Is he worth two first round picks?

  • 0ak R8rs

    I’d heard Cleveland? Not here? Link?

  • Dakota

    Michael sams lisp just came out at his press conference….that will not help his draft stock…..

  • SR Raider

    Watkins. Bortles and Mack are worth a look too

  • Michael

    Haha only if he has a death wish. You see how crazy he goes over any flag called? He’ll have brain aneurysm by week 3 coaching our team

  • 0ak R8rs

    That’s so cold. And a comment you should have left for RRS.

  • Ron69

    Let’s say Reggie opens up his wallet and signs Houston, Hardy,Verner, and Byrd, the best scenario could be trade down let’s say with Titans and draft Donald, this dude is going to run the 40 in the high 4.5 being 290 and benching +500lbs there is your beast inside.
    We’d be talking about a dominant defense at least in paper.
    Take best Wr and LG available in round 2.

  • Dakota

    Long list of busts at every position in the first round.
    Do not let past failures make you hesitate in the future.

  • marks hair

    Apples to bullshít.. find a real comparison.. it will be tuff..

  • Dakota

    Just true….he can probably get away with saying he is gay, but if he starts acting like it…..probably not going to help his draft stock. I am not judging him, just telling it like it is.

  • Blackholepriest

    The TEs are very impressive 2-3 first rnds 1-2 top 15 maybe. Due to so few kids attending all-star games anymore it’s hard to get a read on players the way you use to be able to.

    Now you really need to see game film from the schools a lot more work.

    This draft seems to have some serious inline talent on both sides of the ball. I don’t study nearly as much as I used to I underestimated some of the better players in this draft.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Arms r short. Pass on Donald. And I’m an ND fan.

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    Not quite true. Every single punter picked in the first round has been a Hall-of-Famer.

  • Dakota

    I stand corrected lol.

  • SR Raider

    Couch, Grossman, Carr and Pryor have one thing in common – they were grossly overrated in college

  • The Beeeeech Dawg

    40s are kewl, brah

    The Dawg is more into IPAs, you can get wasted much quicker

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I’m new here, so pardon if this was already covered.

    Vic Tafur about 2 hours ago
    At #NFLcombine … I liked analyst Mike Mayock’s take on why so many top college receivers don’t pan out in #NFL:

    Mayock: “There’s not a whole lot of quality press corners in college football, and there are not a whole lot of teams that play a lot of press coverage is probably a better way to say it.
    “So you get easy access off the line of scrimmage in college that you don’t necessarily get at the next level.”

    Sooo…, extrapolating from this, college QB stats don’t actually mean diddly squat either. Wins/losses, comp%, yards, etc, etc. Although I suppose Int’s might be even more damning at that level. GM’s have to look at the ‘tape’ for mechanics, progressions, and decisions, plus Combine/Pro days and such.
    This observation, along with the pro’s/semi’s/amateur’s abysmal record predicting draft position/NFL success is why I just can’t get too damn animated about the subject.

  • accupolco gold aka elmo

    Commodore Allen este probato mucho cajonrs et los grande titaisis y sack. Mustra chakitas por huarterback. Seńor Manziel sucky how yu say poo doo y trousera serpentina.

  • marks hair

    Discuss messing up again.. plays havoc with my mobile phone. and the votes have disappeared

  • The Beeeeech Dawg

    Naked Donkey?

  • 0ak R8rs

    I was just saying. Not making any opinions one way or the other as to whether we should take one. I only want Bortles of we do tho. Only guy built right do the position IMO. Manziel and Bridgewater r too small. Carr in the second would be good. Even better if we can trade down and still get him. Unlikely we can trade downing the second tho.

  • 0ak R8rs

    No. That would be your gf you brag about all the time, that doesn’t actually exist anyway.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    There might be animals at the institute. They can be therapeutic.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Don’t need to. It will happen. 3/2 odds for happening. Whether it’s Johnson or Long or someone else. I don’t need to find an example. Just have to sit back and watch it happen.

  • plunkhead

    Just kidding. I figured he would piss off the players off after time but I didn’t think management would want to dump him

  • Dakota

    And that will take care of our spending problem…..no good free agents will need to be re-signed…..come on dude you know that is not even reasonable.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    The next one in could well be a 5th rounder.

  • accupolco gold aka elmo

    Generalissimo McKenzie y Commodore Allen mustra say how yu say no to seńor Manziel. Seńor Manziel es bueno collegisa huarteback este be no bueno en el NFL. Seńor Manziel poo stinkita mucho y no solutionista per Raderios.

  • Dakota

    Personally, I hope Michael Sam’s draft stock plummets, and then we trade Pryor for a 5th or 6th rounder, and we use it on Sam.

  • The Beeeeech Dawg

    Oak Dork, the Dawg has his main ho Sharon and then a bunch of other hizzies he normally humps, so please be more specific next time

  • 0ak R8rs

    Geno Torretta, Steve Walsh, Rick Mirer, Tim Tebow. The list never ends.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Yes. Arizona’s O line was so much better than ours.