The most intriguing, mysterious position on the Oakland Raiders has to be the quarterback. The three competitors — Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson — only have three total NFL starts between them, and one is a rookie.
During mini-camp, the only headlines about the Raiders’ quarterbacks were how bad the play was. Reporter Steve Corkran described the performance as “the worst I’ve seen in my 19 years of covering the NFL.” Even more pessimism was attached on with ESPN’s Ron Jaworski ranking Flynn No. 32 in his QB countdown.
Now, let’s not get too depressed because of that — nobody wins the job during mini-camp. In fact, I see lots of reason for fascination in the position.
Flynn has put up impressive numbers in his two career starts, compiling nine touchdowns and two interceptions — both times receiving a 100-plus QB rating. Studying tape of Flynn’s performances shows he is very accurate from 0-10 yards, often putting the ball in good position for the receiver to reel in. However, it is obvious that Flynn lacks the arm power to sling the ball down the field.
Throwing vertically, Flynn tends to try and put the ball high and attack single-man situations, never out-throwing the coverage. The lack of distance sometimes causes the receiver to slow down for the ball. A West Coast style offense seems to be tailored best for Flynn.
Pryor is an interesting player to diagnose. In his only start, Pryor threw for two touchdowns and one interception, while only completing 46.4 percent of his throws. In the start, Pryor seemed to put a lot of touch on his passes, so much it seemed like he was forcing himself to do so.
In training camp I’d like to see him let it rip, trust his arm and demonstrate some arm strength. Pryor possesses speed that neither of his competitors can come close to replicating, that skill-set adds another dimension to the Raiders’ offensive assault. Honestly, if the offensive line is erratic and the receivers struggle getting open, a mobile QB could be the best option for the Raiders.
Wilson has all the potential in the world to become very successful in the NFL. Watching tape, Wilson’s most impressive feature appears to be his pocket mobility. He portrays a natural ability to navigate the pocket and escape to make a throw on the run. Although he doesn’t have the speed of Pryor, Wilson shows he can tuck it and run. He has a lot of zip and arm strength on his throws, probably more than Flynn and Pryor.
However, while under pressure, he occasionally will hurry his throws and forget to set his feet, causing inaccurate passes. The skills Wilson demonstrates tells me he could eventually become the team’s starter, though he has a lot to work on. A strong performance in camp and preseason should help his cause.
I can’t tell you who I think will emerge as the teams starting QB at this point in time, though I have my preferences. How I see it, each QB brings different pros and cons to the table. It makes it all the more reason to follow the Raiders’ training camp. As a fan, July 25 couldn’t come fast enough.