Now that Oakland Raiders' owner Mark Davis has confirmed head coach Dennis Allen will return next season, the team can focus on improving a roster in desperate need of help. Holding the fifth selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Raiders have the opportunity to find a player that can change the franchise's struggles. That player could be quarterback Johnny Manziel, who has declared for the draft today.
NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt reported that Manziel has filed his paperwork to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Johnny "Football" is one of the worst nicknames, but Manziel is a playmaker. He won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman accumulating video game numbers. In his career at Texas A&M, Manziel has completed a hair under 69 percent of his passes for 7,820 passing yards, 63 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He is the definition of a dual threat quarterback tallying another 2,169 yards on the ground and a whopping 30 more touchdowns. All that production came in just two seasons and 26 games. Manziel has proven his abilities against other future NFL players in the SEC.
The Raiders are forced to look at improving their quarterback position this offseason after both Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin showed they are not franchise passers. Both are viable back-up options with some potential to develop. However, this offseason the Raiders will address the most important position in the NFL and it could be Manziel. Three of the four teams selecting ahead of the Raiders in the draft could take a quarterback, which is cause for concern in Oakland. General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen have to make the right pick at five because both are on the hot seat entering next season.
Manziel does not have prototypical NFL size. He is listed at 6'1" and 210 pounds. He makes up for some of those physical limitations with terrific scrambling ability and a knack for avoiding pressure. One of the biggest questions surrounding Manziel and most other mobile quarterbacks is how effective can he be against the speed of the NFL? McKenzie and Allen will do their due diligence on Manziel and any other possible draft target. Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Blake Bortles have all declared for the draft giving the Raiders a chance at landing a signal caller. If all are taken, the Raiders could go for wide receiver Sammy Watkins or defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
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