Posted August 22, 2011

No guarantees for Raiders with Terrelle Pryor pick

Oakland Raiders, Uncategorized

By taking Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft, the Raiders are now without a pick in Rounds 2 through 4 of the 2012 draft. (CSM/Landov)

The last quarterback that the Oakland Raiders drafted with a third-round selection was Andrew Walter, an Arizona State product who threw 16 interceptions and just three touchdowns over his four seasons with the franchise. The Raiders, no doubt, have higher expectations for Terrelle Pryor, whom they selected with a 2012 third-rounder in the supplemental draft.

Oakland knows better than most franchises what a crap shoot drafting a QB can be — JaMarcus Russell in 2007, Walter, Marques Tuiasosopo in 2001, Todd Marinovich in ’91, just a few of the highly-touted quarterbacks that have busted out as Raiders. Considering that Oakland, barring a trade, won’t have a 2012 pick between Rounds 1 and 5, Monday’s selection of Pryor indicates some confidence that the ex-Ohio State star will buck that trend.

For what it’s worth, the third round has been a roller coaster recently in terms of finding quality quarterbacks. Here are the last 10 third-round QBs taken in the draft:

• Ryan Mallett, New England (No. 75 overall, 2011): Off to a good start in his first preseason, Mallett has the added luxury of being able to sit and learn behind Tom Brady.

• Colt McCoy, Cleveland (85, 2010): Exact opposite situation to Mallett’s. Started eight games in his rookie season and now has total control of Browns’ offense.

• Kevin O’Connell, New England (94, 2008): Trying to hang on to a roster spot in Miami, which is his fourth NFL team in four years.

• Trent Edwards, Buffalo (92, 2007): He’s Pryor’s teammate in Oakland now and a good bet to be Jason Campbell’s backup once the regular season starts. His best year was 2008 — 14 starts, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

• Charlie Whitehurst, San Diego (81, 2006): Traded from San Diego to Seattle after throwing no passes in four years. He made two starts last season for the Seahawks but is currently stuck behind Tarvaris Jackson.

• Brodie Croyle,  Kansas City (85, 2006): Currently without a team after five subpar years with the Chiefs. Croyle made six starts in 2007, then two in 2008, and one in both 2009 and 2010.

• Charlie Frye, Cleveland (67, 2005): Suffered a season-ending injury during the 2010 preseason in Oakland and, like Croyle, doesn’t have a team right now. He started 13 games for the Browns in 2006 but never got a true shot at a No. 1 QB role after that.

• Andrew Walter, Oakland (69, 2005): Walter was released by the Raiders prior to the 2009 season, signed with the Patriots, then was released again before ever playing a regular-season game.

• David Greene, Seattle (85, 2005): He spent time with four different teams but finished his NFL career with zero regular season games played.

• Matt Schaub, Atlanta (90, 2004): The silver lining in all these picks, but even Schaub struggled early on — he was stuck behind Michael Vick on the Falcons’ roster and didn’t catch his break until he was traded to Houston in 2007. He’s been one of the NFL’s top QBs over the past two years.

As you can see, there are more downs than ups on that list. Considering their current QB situation and how depleted their draft options are now, the Raiders must be thinking Pryor can attain Schaub-level success. He’s just as likely, possibly even more so, to be the next Greene, Walter or Croyle.

And we have to wonder if  the Raiders have found a better QB in next year’s draft simply by holding onto their pick.

The trio of Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Landry Jones is expected to go in Round 1 next April — taking Pryor Monday would make it nearly impossible for Oakland to justify using its first-rounder on one of that group, though logic doesn’t seem to drive the bus 100 percent of the time in Raider Nation.

The 2012 draft is potentially loaded with intriguing quarterback prospects, though, which will turn up the pressure on Pryor to step in and perform sooner rather than later. After that Luck-Barkley-Jones trifecta, the prospects list includes Kirk Cousins, Ryan Lindley, Nick Foles, Brandon Weeden, even Kellen Moore. In other words, a veritable cornucopia of quarterbacks that will carry better scouting reports with them than Pryor did.

None of those players — heck, none of the projected first-round QBs — are anywhere close to a sure thing. Drafting a quarterback at any point comes with inherent risks.

But given where the Raiders are as a franchise and how high-profile this year’s supplemental draft has been, if Pryor doesn’t turn into one of those third-round success stories, it will feel like a complete waste.

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