Sports Out West

NFL Draft 2014: Johnny Manziel a fit for the Raiders?

Johnny Football

Every year around this time teams visit with all the top players in the draft.  CBSsports.com reported that on Monday the Oakland Raiders are expected to finish meeting with Johnny Manziel.  Manziel is touted as one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft.  He could possibly go on to become a superstar in the NFL, but there is no way the Raiders should think about taking him with the No. 5 overall selection.

For starters, selecting a quarterback in the first-round is a crap shoot.  For every Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco, there is Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder.  While no one can question what Manziel was able to accomplish on the college level, there are questions to whether he can have similar success in the NFL.

Manziel would garner much attention for the Raiders if they chose to select him but attention alone is not the goal, wins are. 

The team just recently acquired quarterback Matt Schaub and although Manziel would be a more mobile option, it is unlikely he could beat Schaub for the job. 

The Raiders need to select a player who can come in and have an instant positive impact on the team.  The team can ill-afford to have another 4-12 type season. 

Now if for some reason Manziel falls in the draft and he is on the board late in the first-round, then the Raiders could trade into the bottom of the round and take him.  At some point in the draft the team would like to find their quarterback of the future. 

The problem with Manziel and the other top quarterbacks in this draft, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, is they all have flaws.  Bortles and Manziel in many pundits’ minds are projects.  There are questions about Bridgewater’s arm strength and durability. 

With those types of question marks, why not look deeper into the quarterback pool.  Zach Mettenberger could be as good as any quarterback in this draft.  He injured his leg late in the college football season and that is why he is projected as a second- round pick.  Aaron Murray also was injured late in the season and he too could be a project and will likely be available in the fourth or fifth round. 

While Manziel is without question the biggest name of the bunch, it is possible the wildcard in May’s draft is Derek Carr.  Carr has all the tools to be a solid NFL quarterback but he has two things working against him.  One, playing at Fresno State he didn’t play the best competition.  Secondly, his brother David Carr was a bust as the No. 1 overall pick the 2002 NFL draft.  Even with those things working against him, scouts think he has a ton of upside.

NFL teams often reach for a quarterback because the thought process is the NFL is a quarterback-driven league.  That may be true, but that doesn’t mean the quarterback has to be a high pick.  Russell Wilson was a third-round pick.  Colin Kapernick was a second-round pick.  Drew Brees was a second-round pick.  Andy Dalton was a second-round pick. 

The Raiders are aware Schaub is a stop gap at the quarterback position.  That doesn’t mean they have to reach to find a new one. 

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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for WoodyPaige.com.