Khalil Mack is an absolute monster. He ran a 4.65 at the NFL Combine, then he ran in the 4.53-4.55 range at his pro day. He’s 6′ 3″, 250 and set FBS records in tackles for loss (75) and forced fumbles (16). Some have said that he’s the best player in the draft, and the Oakland Raiders were more than happy to submit his name when it was their turn to pick on Thursday night.
He has All-Pro potential, and the Raiders need as many elite players as they can collect. But he isn’t a TV star, and the station that carries Raiders games wants some guys they can talk about. They want ratings. They wanted Johnny Football.
Well, not all the hosts wanted Johnny Football. The Raiders already have Matt Schaub and need to stop losing 10+ games per season, and taking a smallish quarterback who’s raw and displayed some questionable judgment at times in college probably isn’t the most logical path back to respectability. Greg Papa will probably be 100% in favor of the Mack selection, and other hosts like John Middlekauff were down with the pick.
But others weren’t quite so pleased that the Raiders said no to Johnny Football.
Raiders just lost out on a once in a lifetime player. Manziel will be a star in this league. Couldn’t be more upset right now!
— AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
Congratulations Raider nation you just went from 4 wins last year to 4 wins next year! Need a diff maker and Manziel was it. Not Mack! Ahhh — AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
Can’t wait to have to listen to all the callers 2 years from now say “I told ya the Raiders should have taken Manziel not Mack!” Ughhh — AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
Then Aubrey Huff started channeling Jon Gruden and ripped any team that didn’t have the cojones to take the J-Football plunge.
I guess the Browns want to keep sucking! Justin Gilbert really? I don’t want Manziel in Cleveland anyway! — AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
Huff then focused his Twitter energies on making sure Manziel didn’t feel too badly about his situation.
That’s right Johnny nobody believes in you! That chip on your shoulder will make you a hall of famer! — AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
Then Huff decided he just wanted ANY team in the Bay Area to take his beloved Johnny Football. Hey, a talking point is a talking point, amirite? (I really hope this next tweet was tongue-in-cheek, but it’s hard to make any assumptions on draft night.)
Maybe Manziel will be there for the 49ers!! — AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
Finally the Browns moved up and took Manziel at 22, historically a fail-safe spot for quarterbacks going to Cleveland.
Go Browns!! I’ll be the first one to buy my doo doo brown jersey! Manziel to Cleveland not sexy for him! — AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
Cleveland Browns Super Bowl champs in 3 years. Book it! — AUBREY HUFF (@aubrey_huff) May 9, 2014
But it wasn’t just the Huffster. I don’t even know what this next tweet means (maybe Bruce meant “fell” instead of “feel”), except that it was going to be followed by one that signaled disappointment.
Raiders fans questioned Damon Bruce’s questions, and he went to the Chucky card.
Then he went to the “I know more about not knowing anything about Buffalo than all y’all” card.
I’m from Upstate NY, and have never seen a down of University of Buffalo football. Don’t pretend. — Damon Bruce (@DamonBruce) May 9, 2014
If you haven’t noticed, Bruce’s skin isn’t all that thick.
If you hear Huff and Bruce hosting shows on Cleveland radio shows in a year or two, don’t be surprised.
What’s ridiculous about Huff’s and Bruce’s logic is it’s completely wrong for the NFL. In the NBA, when there are at most a half dozen stars in any given draft, passing on a guy with supreme talent (i.e. “upside”) can put your franchise into a tailspin. In the NFL, that isn’t the case. The team that drafts Johnny Football with the fifth overall pick is a laughingstock for a decade-plus if he goes kablooey. If Manziel ends up being a superstar, the Raiders will be one of 20 teams that had a chance to take him and said “no thanks.”
But these two hosts aren’t interested in how these teams are perceived in several years, they’re worried about the ratings implications now. They’re forced to talk about the Raiders because they work for the flagship station, and the Mack pick only lends itself to about 15 minutes of “So, he’s probably really good at sacking quarterbacks and separating running backs from the football” analysis. Long-term reputations, whether it’s the Raiders’ or their own, are secondary. Ratings are built on “hot takes” and emotion-based judgments on players you’ve watched a lot on TV.
@DamonBruce Uh, I think you are the only nobody.
— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) May 9, 2014