With more than two months to go until the first-ever May draft, the gap between the Scouting Combine and the selection process needs to be filled with something.
Other than, you know, free agency.
Before the focus fully shifts to the looming veteran swap meet, let’s pay a little (more) attention to the buzz regarding the quarterbacks expected to be taken at the top of the draft.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times has the Raiders taking quarterback Derek Carr over Johnny Manziel in Farmer’s latest mock draft, with this observation: “The Raiders are known for their unconventional picks, so Manziel might seem like a natural fit for them. Word is, though, that they liked Carr more coming out of the Combine.”
At a time when most presume the first three quarterbacks taken will be Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Blake Bortles (but not necessarily in that or any specific order), it’s possible Carr will be crashing that three-man party. (Farmer has the Vikings taking Manziel, a possible modern-day Fran Tarkenton, at No. 8.)
It’s also possible that the Raiders are sending out smoke signals aimed at making other teams guess wrong about the team’s true intentions. And those true intentions need to be kept tightly under wraps so that the Raiders can say that whoever they draft is the guy they wanted all along.
Last year, the Raiders kept their plans quiet until the last few days before the draft, when rumors surfaced that they were considering cornerback D.J. Hayden with the third overall pick. They reportedly would have taken Hayden at No. 3 if the Dolphins hadn’t called about a possible slide to No. 12.
If Manziel and Carr are both on the clock at No. 5, the Raiders possibly could do the same thing this year, if they truly prefer Carr. Oakland could slide down a few spots, take Carr, and add a pick or two in the process.
All of this presumes that Manziel and Carr make it to No. 5. With the Texans, Jaguars, and Browns all needing quarterbacks, there’s a chance one or both will be gone.