Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel is the Oakland Raiders Only Hope


The Oakland Raiders should be thinking one player heading into this May’s draft, Johnny Manziel. There is only one bona fide franchise changing draft pick this year and his name is Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel. With Manziel we are talking about a player who shattered Cam Newton’s SEC total yardage record as a freshman. I know you might be thinking to yourself what about Bridgewater? Bortles? Watkins? For god’s sake what about Clowney? My answer to all those players is no. Just no. Don’t get me wrong they are all great players and all are high upside picks but they are not Johnny Football.

First let me say that this years draft class, while substantially more talented than last years, does not have any clear cut NFL ready talent out there. What it does provide are a lot of young talented players that have high upside and will still be able to give solid production their rookie seasons. To me the most NFL ready prospect is South Carolina’s defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. Low motor and bad cardio have hurt his draft stock slightly. Defensive prospects rarely, if ever, change the course of a franchise the way a Quarterback does. Clowney is a special player but you can get similar production from later in the draft, ie: Trent Murphy, Dee Ford or Anthony Barr. While Clowney certainly has great upside he does not have enough potential impact for the Raiders to take him fifth overall.

Another interesting prospect in this draft is Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. There are pundits out there that think Bridgewater is the logical pick for the Raiders. While that wouldn’t be a terrible pick I just do not see Bridgewater being the kind of impact player others believe he will become. To me I think Bridgewater has a ceiling somewhere around a late Eagles Donovan McNabb. I see him struggling his first year the way Geno Smith did this year. No doubt he has all the tools to surprise me and be more of “in the prime” McNabb but from the film I have watched I just don’t think he has it. The Raiders need a superstar not an average quarterback.

The second quarterback prospect that is at the top of the draft boards is UCF’s Blake Bortles. The UCF product is a very intriguing prospect because he was nowhere to be found before the season. The more scouts watched him play the more impressed they have become of Bortles. Obviously Bortles is highly talented, he even beat Bridgewater head to head, but while I was evaluating him I saw inconsistency in his deep balls and a tendency to take unnecessary risks over the middle of the field. The best pro comparison I can make with him is Jake Locker of the Tennessee Titans. Both players have plus arms and both can make plays happen when the pocket breaks down. With that being said Locker hasn’t been that transcendent player Tennessee hoped he would become. Bortles has the tools to one day develop into a great quarterback but for a head coach and general manager in a prove it year, Bortles is not the immediate answer.

The best wide receiver in this draft is Clemson’s Sammy Watkins without a doubt. Watkins’ skill set is impressive to say the least, a big receiver with the ability to gain substantial yards after the catch. While he is a pretty good bet to turn into an impact player, teams should not draft wide receivers this early in the draft. The greatest receiver of my generation, Calvin Johnson, has been to the playoffs once in his entire 8 year career. Like it or not receivers do not impact the game as much as they think they do. Having solid receivers is important but you can find solid value later in the first rd and later in the draft, ie; Jordan Matthews, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Having a great receiver means nothing if you have an average quarterback like McGloin or Pryor on the other end of the passes. Sammy Watkins is going to be a star in this league but with the depth at receiver in this draft class, Oakland would be wise to pass on Watkins.

Now that we’ve broken down the rest of the potential top prospects that leaves us with the coveted Johnny Football. If you don’t know by now Johnny Football played at Texas A&M and won the Heisman trophy in 2012. Manziel is best described as a playmaker. He is extremely adept at making plays with his feet and as we saw this year he is equally as dangerous in the pocket. He is a day one starter for whatever team he ends up on. I have never seen a player as impressive as Johnny Football, his ability to escape pressure and keep his eyes down field is second to none. He has that kind of jaw dropping ability you only see every couple of years. Manziel shredded SEC defenses to the tune of 93 touchdowns and over 9,000 total yards in two seasons. The attribute I love the most about Johnny Football is the kid is a winner. He won 20 games at Texas A&M despite having one of the worst defenses in the country, 118th out of 123 FBS teams in total ypg. Manziel would bring a winning attitude to a team that for so long has become content with mediocrity. There is no question that he would lead the Raiders to the postseason for the first time in over a decade. If he is still on the board at #5 it should be a no brainer in my opinion. I personally don’t think he will last until the fifth pick and if the Raiders want a chance at drafting him they will need to trade up to at least the second pick, maybe even number one overall. Because of his unique playmaking skills I think the Raiders should take a chance and trade up in the draft to land Johnny Football.

To the Oakland Raiders it should be Johnny Manziel or trade the fifth overall pick. If they are not able to land Manziel they should trade down and gather as many value picks as possible. Those are the only two options the Raiders have to ensure improvement in 2014 in my eyes. Reggie McKenzie should be thinking one thing going into this April’s draft, Johnny Football or bust.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Johnny Manziel Oakland Raiders

  • Bob

    This article is BS.

  • PJ

    I agree. To much hype over a college QB. The one QB I heard huge reviews over of a skill set in a bottle was a QB that nobody mentions and reminds me of Brady and how they overlooked him. His name is…Garoppolo! Quick feet, release, size and accuracy. He is 6’5 from Illinois and led FCS. Great arm with all the tangibles. Look at the tape! Awesome!

  • James Holtslander

    After manziels bowl game this year, 30/38 400 yards roughly for a running QB. Yeah I think you take a chance, team changes for the better day one. Can he sustain and become a Drew breez QB.? Maybe, But yeah I would rather get Johnny football than Sanchez or Shaub or any other scab writers are trying to sell me.

  • Raider Grant

    Wait to draft QB until next year, and go all in for Marcus Mariota! Watkins could be play maker that makes a QB & other wide receivers better, and is the best at the position in 2014 draft. If no Watkins, get best defensive player possible. I wouldn’t mind picking up best offensive linemen with 5th pick. We require A+ draft & A+ free agent signings to be competitive in 2014. Go Raiderrrrs

  • guido

    Isn’t the Draft in May not April?

  • http://justblogbaby.com J.R.

    Not a bad idea but Dennis Allen and McKenzie need to win this year and you need an impact qb to win in the nfl these days and Johnny football is guaranteed impact player

  • http://justblogbaby.com J.R.

    He’s definitely been hyped but it’s warranted. garrapolo reminds me a lot of joe flacco but until the combine we really won’t know how teams are feeling about him

  • Jonathon epperson

    Great read. Smh to people who know nothing about football. don’t pass on the sec record breaking heisman pass first! qb when you have know clue about next year. The variables can change and it might cost more than it could now.

  • allday

    I agree..Garroppolo is the best Qb in this draft in my eyes..been sayin that for a min..but he’s not 6’5..only 6’2..barely…his build/arm and play remind me a lot of Aaron Rodgers.

  • Cin

    you sir are and idiot…

  • Baggabonez

    Yeah, I thought JBB had promise but with writers like this…..Now all I need is 4 more dummies picking before the Raiders to agree with this line of thinking

  • CAM

    “And” idiot? Oh, the irony.

  • Kevin Hubley

    I might be the only one in raider nation that still thinks this way but im not sure if I’ve seen enough of Terrell Pryor. He only played six or seven games before magloin started and as rough as he looked I think if you give him a strong offensive line and a play maker like Sammy Watkins then he could maybe be better than we all think. Plus if you add a decent running game with at least Reece or Jennings it could be a deadly offence.

  • Crusader10

    With Johnny Manziel, I keep seeing Ryan Leaf.

  • Crusader10

    I would take Schaub or even try out Sanchez as a potential back up. I wouldn’t want them trying to run the team for me, though.

  • chase ruttig

    Editor’s Note: Yes, the draft is in May and we apologize for the error. As for the criticism about J.R.’s opinion, everyone is entitled to their own player evaluations and it is no way unreasonable to consider Manziel as a highly touted prospect. Keep in mind a lot of experts you guys all respect and take stock in their evaluations have Johnny Football as a potential #1 pick or even a top 5. In fact Todd McShay had Manziel at #5 in his latest mock draft today. Manziel creates a lot of this type of discussion so it is nice to see all of you getting into it in the comments a little.

  • EK

    Johnny Manziel=Doug Flutie; Raiders better pass on him!

  • Baggabonez

    I’m confused. Which SEC record breaking Heisman winner are we talking about, Tebow or Manziel? Before you use the Heisman to support your position you should you homework as overwhelmingly Heisman QBs rarely pan out.

    The two comparisons Manziel most frequently compared to is Fran Tarkenton & Russel Wilson. Tark played in the 60s – 70s and his style is no longer applicable. Might as well compare Johnny to Archie Manning or Bobby Lane while we are at it.

    Wilson played the role of game manager in the Super Bowl supported by a strong running game and stout defense, neither of which the Raiders currently have.

    Not mention both were drafted in the 3rd. Just because this is a weak QB class doesn’t justify drafting a game manager, which Johnny’s penchant for risk suggests he won’t be, in the Top 5.

  • Bob

    Defense wins Superbowls…

  • Bob

    The Raiders lost games last year because they could not hold a lead. This screams the need for DEFENSE. The Patriots had the highest scoring Offense ever and lost the Superbowl. The Broncos had the highest scoring Offense ever and lost the Superbowl. This is the problem I have with some 20 year old kid saying Manzel is the savior when stats say otherwise.

  • Pridenpoise

    There’s not a snowballs chance in hell that the Raiders are going to give up picks to move up in the draft to pick Manziel. He will more than likely be gone when the Raiders pick, if by some chance Clowney is their he’s the pick the Raiders NEED, we need pass rushers, defence. The one thing that we can’t have is another bust in the first round, I could also see the Raiders moving back in the 1st round, however the Matthews, I believe his name is from AandM might be a wise choice, because we know the O-line needs help.

  • http://justblogbaby.com J.R.

    Definitely do not think raiders will move up but if they can’t get Manziel at 5 they need to trade the pick to be able to gather more talent.

  • http://justblogbaby.com J.R.

    Raiders could not score last year and defense was hampered by injuries/lack of depth. Offense could not stay on the field consistently to give the defense a break that led to the defense being so poor than any lack of talent. This offseason the raiders will be able to add depth and talent to their defense in free agency and later in the draft. A superstar qb will have more positive influence on this team than anything else.

  • http://justblogbaby.com J.R.

    Can also get impact defensive players later in draft. Jared Allen was a 4th rd pick, cliff avril 3rd rd and Michael strahan was a 2nd rd pick. Along with countless others

  • Swayze Waters

    Is this a joke article? JFF would be a terrible pick the Raiders – a guy who is used to playing behind a dominant OL and runs at the first sign of trouble. If the Raiders draft a QB, they need a guy who can shift in the pocket while keeping his eyes upfield, and can run through his progressions in fast order. Manziel would constantly be running, and if that is what the Raiders want, they already have a guy who is bigger and faster than Manziel at the QB slot. Manziel was able to put up huge numbers because he had an NFL level O-line in college, he was faster than college LBs, and he had guys like Mike Evans so he could throw the ball up for grabs. He will now play behind a porous line, the LBs will be able to beat him to the edge, and he will have to throw with precision to make completions, as the Raiders WRs don’t tend to get massive separation or physically dominate defenders when going after the ball. He would be an awful choice for the Raiders.

    Seriously, go on youtube and watch his “highlight” films, but don’t focus on him, look at his pocket. Ask yourselves 1) did the pressure that caused him to abandon the pocket really exist, or was it the kind of thing that he could have just shifted his feet and reset in the pocket so he could continue his reads? 2) how much worse will his protection be if he played behind the Raiders line?

    I’m not saying he will be a complete bust on any team, but if he is drafted by the Raiders, he will be. He would get himself killed by the end of his rookie season.