What a whirlwind season for Oakland Raider quarterbacks. At the beginning of the season, the Raiders’ quarterback plan seemed simple: Matt Flynn would hold down the position for the 2013 season, and if rookie Tyler Wilson (112th overall, Arkansas) didn’t show any signs of being the potential QB of the future, they’d select a franchise quarterback in the super deep QB class in the 2014 NFL Draft. Of course with the Raiders, nothing goes according to plan.
First, Flynn couldn’t win the starting job. Terrelle Pryor, the incredibly gifted athlete who hammered the final nail in Jim Tressel’s coffin at Ohio State, shockingly beat out the veteran Flynn, and Wilson was surprisingly cut before camp even finished (he’d later be added to the practice squad). And out of nowhere, undrafted rookie Matt McGloin (Penn St.) made the roster as the third quarterback.
Then Pryor started playing somewhat well, giving signs he could be the guy for the future, and Flynn was subsequently released. But then Pryor gets hurt, and McGloin is forced into duty. In McGloin’s first start against the Houston Texans last week, he didn’t play bad, and the Raiders got a good road win. Now, there’s new chatter about McGloin potentially being the guy. What the heck is going on? Do the Raiders have a franchise QB on the roster?
No. The Raiders do not have a franchise QB on the roster. Rest assured Raider Nation, there will be a new and talented signal caller under center next season, one who will be drafted next May. Allow me to elaborate.
Pryor’s interceptions and lack of accuracy continued to plague him throughout his up-and-down 2013 season. Sure, 504 rushing yards by a QB in his first half of a season is exciting, especially for a team starved of consistent playmakers. But QBs have to do more than just run. Pryor completed less than 59 percent of his passes and also had twice as many INTs (10) as passing TDs (five). I do think there’s a role somewhere on this team for Pryor, though. He’s too good of an athlete not to be able to carve out a niche for him somewhere, just not QB.
McGloin? Hey, it’s a great story and all (former walk on at PSU, going undrafted and working his way up to starting in his rookie year), but he’s not the franchise QB they’ve been looking for. He doesn’t have great size (6-foot 1, 210-pounds), he’s not a great athlete, he’s not very fast and he doesn’t have anywhere close to the arm strength to make it long term in the NFL. Did he play well against an abhorrent Texans team that’s reeled off eight-straight losses? Yes, he did. And if he plays that way week in and week out for the rest of the season, maybe I’ll reconsider my stance. But we all know that’s not going to happen.
The Raiders will have an opportunity in the 2014 NFL Draft to select their franchise QB. Depending on where they pick, more than likely in the 8-15 range, a host of talented signal callers will be available. Derek Carr (Fresno St.), Zach Mettenberger (LSU) and Brett Hundley (UCLA) are big, strong and athletic passers who should still be available, and all would provide an immediate upgrade.
Should the Raiders focus elsewhere with their first pick (like offensive line, defensive line, receiver or linebacker), Aaron Murray (Georgia), A.J. McCarron (Alabama) and Tajh Boyd (Clemson) could be options in the second round.