The staff writers here at Silver & Black Pride have gotten together to make up our own mock Raiders draft a couple weeks before the real one. I, RaiderDamus, have the first pick in this draft, #5 overall. I am acting under the assumptions that the Raiders will not be trading down and that the following players will go in the first four picks: JaDeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins, Khalil Mack and Blake Bortles, in some order. Therefore, I turn in my card to the commish and it reads...
Round 1 (Pick #5 overall) -- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Measurables: 5'11", 207 lbs.
40-yard dash: 4.68
2013: 69.9% completion percentage, 4114 pass yds, 37 TD, 13 INT. 759 yds rushing, 9 rush TD.
2012: 68% completion percentage, 3706 pass yds, 26 TD, 9 INT. 1410 yds rushing, 21 rush TD.
2013: Chick-Fil-A Bowl Offensive MVP, SEC Male Athlete of the Year. Finalist for: Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Heisman Trophy, Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award.
2012: First-team All-American, Heisman Trophy Winner, Davey O-Brien Award Winner, Manning Award Winner, Sporting News College Football Player of the Year, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, All-SEC First-team Quarterback, ESPN.com All-Bowl Team, Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP. Finalist for Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year.
Before you say to me, "But RaiderDamus, we don't need a first-round quarterback to succeed!", let me list for you the other quarterbacks in our division.
Peyton Manning: First overall pick, 1998.
Alex Smith: First overall pick, 2005.
Philip Rivers: Fourth overall pick, 2004 (though, after Eli Manning's douchey family held him hostage from San Diego the Chargers traded with New York for Rivers, so essentially Rivers was the first pick overall)
I'm sorry Raider fans, but having undrafted Matt McGloin as your long-term solution isn't going to end well. The Raiders need a guy who is a legit top-ten prospect under center if they are to have success in either the division or the league. The Raiders should have had that guy in JaMarcus Russell, but he turned out to be a drug addict with the work ethic of a Snorlax on quaaludes so it didn't work out and the team has been in quarterback hell ever since.
This is truly a perfect situation for Juan De La Futbol. With the signing of Matt Schaub, Manziel can sit and learn from Greg Olson and Schaub for at least one year before being thrust into the spotlight as he would be in, say, Tampa Bay or Minnesota.
People knock Manziel's size, as he is just a hair shy of six feet tall. That never seemed to work against him in college, as he completed 69.9 percent of his passes in 2013 despite having an average distance of 9.1 yards per attempt. Only three FBS quarterbacks had a better completion percentage than Manziel, who was facing monster SEC defenses on a weekly basis and absolutely shredding them to pieces. He had big tall linemen in college including Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews and never seemed to have trouble finding his passing lanes. Manziel has huge hands, which is more important than height to a quarterback. Remember Dave Krieg? He has the third-most fumbles in NFL history due to his tiny little baby doll hands. Manziel won't have that problem.
People knock the fact that a lot of Manziel's plays came in the form of tossing the ball up to Mike Evans and hoping for the best. Evans, who is clearly descended from Goliath, usually did make the play. But Manziel was smart in doing this, because if you have a weapon like that it would be foolish not to use it, especially when your defense is atrocious and you need to make big plays on a regular basis. Matt Schaub used to do this very thing with Andre Johnson, Andy Dalton does it with A.J. Green, and Matt Stafford does it with Calvin Johnson. Nobody gets on their case about it, because more often than not it works.
People knock the fact that Manziel seemed to find himself in trouble a lot. But let's face it folks, the state of Texas is basically a giant keg party and Manziel is a capitalist extraordinaire, fighting the good fight trying to burn down the NCAA hegemony through sheer business sense. He's not a part of your system, he's an adult.
With the fifth pick, the Raiders need a playmaker, someone who can bring excitement to the game and also remain cool and focused in the face of pressure. In this respect, Manziel is a cross between Kenny "The Snake" Stabler and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. He puts his heart and soul into every game, every play. On a weekly basis he was involved in shootouts because his defense was so bad, and he almost always won them based on his will to win and his athletic ability and talent. How many times did you see a play break down for Brett Favre or Steve Young, only to see them pull a rabbit out of their hat and make a huge gain with either their arm or their legs? They did it all the time, and that's the kind of player Manziel is.
He is also very durable. I don't ever recall seeing him miss a game due to injury. Last year against Ole Miss I saw him crumple up on the field holding his knee. A lesser player would have had a torn ACL and been out for the year- right, Zach Mettenberger?- but not Manziel. He said a quick prayer on the field, and a Valkyrie descended from Valhalla and healed him right then and there. Manziel bounced up, didn't miss a drive, and won the game.
This isn't a guy who puts up gaudy stats in a lesser conference like Kevin Kolb, Case Keenum or Derek Carr. This is a guy who every week went up against the best of the best and demolished them. He was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and if the Raiders are smart he will join their long tradition of successful Heisman winners, such as Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, Tim Brown, and Charles Woodson.
Of course, this is Reggie McKenzie we're talking about making this pick, and literally anything could happen. He'll probably go way off the board and pick Taylor Lewan or Kelvin Benjamin or something, who knows. But at least for today, this pick is mine, and Manziel is my guy. May he bring honor to his ancestors and glory to the #2.