Programming note: Matt Maiocco is on the ground in Indianapolis to cover the NFL Combine. Check back for his coverage all weekend and get the full report on SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m.
The Raiders need a quarterback. There’s little argument about that. Several mock drafts have them taking a passer No. 5 overall, selecting either Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel.
While the Raiders are considering a quarterback at that spot, head coach Dennis Allen cautioned against taking a first round quarterback just to do so.
“I think a lot of it is going to depend on what happens in the first four picks,” Allen told CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco at the NFL Scouting Combine. “But I don’t think you can ever just say, ‘We have to have a quarterback and we’re taking the next quarterback we have rated no matter what.’ You have to make sure you’re making a smart pick.”
No matter what position the Raiders choose in the first round, they can’t afford to miss. Allen mentioned a need for a pass-rushing threat and a cover corner. There are others needs, including receiver. Allen said the Raiders will focus on finding the best player available, letting team needs break ties between players evaluated equally.
If there’s a stalemate when the Raiders are on the clock at No. 5 and a quarterback is among players at atop their list, Allen said, right now at least, the Raiders would lean toward the passer.
“Oh, sure, yeah. If they’re at the same grade, if we were drafting tomorrow, probably,” Allen said. “But I can’t speak for what’s going to happen on draft day because that’s a long way away and there are a lot of things that can happen between now and then.”
Mistakes at the top end of the draft can hurt a franchise long term, especially one that remains committed to building through the draft. Allen understands that the Raiders must find NFL-ready players in the early rounds, especially at No. 5. Drafting a quarterback flop would be disappointing for a team with a recent history of doing so, and it would surely hinder Allen’s quest for progress.
“We’ve seen so many times over the years, especially at that position, when you try to force a quarterback, it really sets your franchise back,” Allen said. “Not as much now because of the way the rookie salary wage scale is now, it doesn’t affect you quite as much. But it’s still affects you.”