Dennis Allen: Manziel 'fun' to evaluate

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
5:45
PM ET
Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen was asked Thursday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis if his 2014 starting quarterback was already on Oakland’s roster.

Manziel
Keep in mind, the Raiders currently have Terrelle Pryor, who started nine games last season, Matt McGloin, who started six, and veteran Trent Edwards, who last started an NFL game in 2010, under contract.

Allen’s response? “I don’t know the answer to that yet, you know what I mean? I think that’s obviously a position we’re going to look at to try to improve as well as any other position. But that’s obviously a position we have to [evaluate].

“The quarterback position is the backbone of your football team, and so we have to make sure that when we go out there this year that we’ve put ourselves in the best position to have success with the quarterback position.”

Then after reading between the lines and going over the silver and black tea leaves, the answer would be … no.

Which of course, brings us to this year’s crop of quarterbacks. You’ve got the big guns in Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, the intriguing guys in Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Alabama’s AJ McCarron and, of course, the biggest and most intriguing figure of all in the polarizing Johnny Manziel, by way of Texas A&M.

Now, the fact that Allen is a Texas A&M alum should give the Raiders a leg up in scouting Manziel to see if he’s worth the hype, let alone the No. 5 overall pick, right?

Yes, Allen was asked about his fellow Aggie.

“Obviously, he’s accomplished a lot at the collegiate level and has been a very good football player, being the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy,” Allen said. “I think that speaks in and of itself about how good a football player he is, so I think he’s a very talented football player. I think he is a multi-dimensional football player. I think he’s able to throw the ball. I think he’s able to throw the ball from the pocket, but he’s also able to create things with his feet.

“As we get more into the evaluation process, I think he’ll be a fun guy to really evaluate.”

Paul Gutierrez

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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