There’s no video evidence, but I’d be hard pressed to believe Matt Flynn wasn’t sweating profusely when the Oakland Raiders drafted Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas in the fourth-round of the NFL draft. A quarterback prospect that’s a little rough around the edges, but possesses an otherworldly set of intangibles... Oh, and he was taken in the mid-rounds of the NFL draft shortly after Flynn came in tow. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? A little Russell Wilson there maybe?
Unfortunately for the Raiders, no, this Wilson is not of the Russell variety or capability. Not yet anyways.
That’s not going to stop the Tyler Wilson bandwagon from gaining considerable momentum; be it from the press or fans alike. Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times stoked the fires with his description of Wilson’s play in OTA’s, going so far as to say “It's not a stretch to envision Wilson playing well enough to sure past presumptive starter Matt Flynn and third-year player Terrelle Pryor at some point, even if he downplays the situation”.
Let it be made perfectly clear that I’m not taking shots at Wilson’s ability to contribute at the NFL level. Leading up to the draft I wrote a very complementary profile of the young quarterback. With the right amount of coaching and supporting cast, there is no denying that Wilson has all the tools and then some to succeed at the next level. Neither of those things are readily available heading into his rookie season, however.
It’s also worth noting that even the most deluded of Raiders fans, of which there is no shortage, can’t envision this team as a playoff contender. Lets say everything goes absurdly well for Wilson in training camp, and he wrestles the starting job away from Flynn a la Russell last season; to what exact end is in mind here? Is there really any difference between a 4-12 record as opposed to the maybe 5-11 record they can extract from a hypothetically better Tyler Wilson? Well, yes, there is that lower draft spot I suppose.
This whole ordeal isn’t exactly fair to Flynn, but this question and the firestorm that surrounds it and his position in general was bound to follow him from the very moment both newly anointed GM Reggie Mckenzie and Dennis Allen refused to name him the starter. Their vote of confidence came in the form of giving him the first team reps. Overwhelming, really.
It’s kind of cute how desperately this fan base and it’s press has latched onto Wilson, just not realistic. They have every reason to be enthusiastic with his potential as a starter, but should realize nonetheless that starting him this season would do nothing to help his cause in the foreseeable future.
Whatever happened to the days of developing quarterbacks? Is it really so absurd a notion to let a prospect at this position ride pine and learn a thing or two from the veteran? Oh the burden of expectation that has attached itself to this year’s crop of quarterbacks. They have a hard act to follow and you can already seeing it leading them towards disaster. Hope, if you’re a Raiders fan, Wilson isn’t the first casualty.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV