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Raiders shooting for playmaker like Johnny Manziel, GM says

After another shambolic season at the quarterback position, the Oakland Raiders will be looking for an upgrade there with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. General manager Reggie McKenzie knows as much, and his endorsement of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel reflects it.


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"He's a playmaker," McKenzie told SFGate.com. "Whether it's him or one of these other guys, when you can add a playmaker, that's what you shoot for."

The unquenchable swagger and freewheeling style of Manziel would fit in with the historic image of the team famously described as the "Autumn wind" by Steve Sabol and NFL Films, but based on the initial mock drafts from NFL media analysts Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, and Charles Davis, Manziel will be gone before the Raiders are on the clock.

Davis has Manziel going third to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Jeremiah and Brooks both have Manziel coming off the board with the fourth pick to the Cleveland Browns.

Jeremiah has the Raiders taking Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, with Brooks tapping Blake Bortles of UCF. Davis sees the Raiders selecting USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.

With an enormous amount of dead money coming off the books, the Raiders will have the salary cap flexibility to consider putting together the package of draft picks necessary to move up for Manziel and still upgrade the overall talent level through free agency.

McKenzie also said he would prefer to sit a quarterback during his rookie season and give him and the team additional time to develop. That approach would be a reversal of a recent trend across the NFL, where rookie quarterbacks have been starting immediately.

Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III all found immediate success by taking their teams to the playoffs in their first season. The returns were mixed for the likes of E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden over the last two campaigns.

And while it might make sense to give Manziel or any other rookie quarterback a chance to get settled in before starting, the dearth of talent at the position may force the Raiders to turn to the newcomer. After all, that's why the Raiders will be looking for a quarterback in the draft in the first place.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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