Here’s a trivia question for you: who was the last player Al Davis drafted as owner of the Oakland Raiders? No, it’s not some inconsequential 7th rounder from an obscure college no one’s ever heard of. Actually, it was quarterback Terrelle Pryor out of Ohio State, who the Raiders selected in the 3rd round of the NFL’s supplemental draft in 2011.
If Davis were still alive there’s no doubt that he would be outraged by the play of his team this season. The Raiders are 3-10 on the season and have lost their last six games, several in embarrassing fashion. The offense that had no trouble scoring points early in the season has been held to 20 or fewer points in each of Oakland’s last five games. This has led many to ponder whether or not it’s time for the Raiders to give Pryor a chance at quarterback for the final three games of the season, a change that Davis himself likely would have been in favor of following his team’s wretched play the last several weeks.
That’s not to say that current starting quarterback Carson Palmer is to blame for all of Oakland’s problems this year, because that’s far from the truth. Palmer has actually had a productive season, re-emerging as a viable NFL quarterback. For most of the current six-game losing streak he’s been without starting running back Darren McFadden to give the Raider offense some balance and take the pressure off of him. Palmer isn’t exactly working with an accomplished group of wide receivers either, as the leading receiver for the Raiders this year is tight end Brandon Myers. Also, the Oakland defense has often put Palmer in situations where he has no other option but to throw the ball down field and take chances, which have forced Palmer to make difficult throws and occasionally turn the ball over.
However, with all that said, it still may be time to consider giving Pryor a chance. With so many rookie quarterbacks experiencing success all over the NFL, it must be tempting for the Raiders to give their young and untested quarterback an opportunity to play after nearly two years of standing on the sidelines. Pryor does offer an intriguing skill set, as he has the ability to run and improvise from the quarterback position while also having the size to withstand the hits that quarterbacks sometimes take when they venture out of the pocket. Pryor also possesses the arm strength to throw the ball down field, as well as the ability to make quick decisions, both of which will serve him well as the quarterback for this particular Raiders team.
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At this point, the Raiders don’t have a whole lot to lose by putting Pryor on the field for the final three weeks of the season, as their season is mostly a lost cause. In fact, it might be beneficial for the organization to gauge his progress thus far and see if he may play a role in their future. It’s nothing against Palmer and the season he’s had, but it’s time to play Pryor and see firsthand what exactly the Raiders have in their 3rd round supplemental pick from a year ago; and it’s safe to say if Al Davis were still around, he would agree.