Terrelle Pryor Just the Latest in Long Line of Terrible Raiders Roster Decisions

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IAugust 14, 2012

August 13, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Baraka Atkins (59) in the fourth quarter at O.Co Coliseum. The Cowboys defeated the Raiders 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE

At the very least, the Oakland Raiders can take comfort in the fact that drafting quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft will likely serve as the last of the terrible roster decisions they've made over the last several years. 

With Reggie McKenzie, a disciple of Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson in Green Bay, in place as the Raiders' new general manager, such atrocious decisions shouldn't be happening at anywhere near the previous rate. 

But after watching Pryor man the Raiders offense for the better part of the second half Monday night, it's painfully obvious how far he has to go before he's even ready to compete as a backup quarterback at the NFL level. 

Believe it or not, Matt Leinart can feel rather comfy in his position as the Raiders' No. 2 quarterback. 

Pryor was actually his own hardest critic after Monday night's performance. He finished the 3-0 loss to Dallas with a passing stat line of 8-of-15 for 50 yards and one interception. 

Via Paul Guiterrez of CSN Bay Area, Pryor said:

I'm angry at myself. I don't think I played well. I thought Matt (Leinart) played great. I thought Carson (Palmer) played great. I thought everyone else on the team played great. I just think I played like dog crap...So I'm mad about that, about how I played today. So I'm angry and I'm going to come back stronger next week.

Pryor hasn't played quarterback in a live setting in almost two years, so rust was expected. But his performance brings up the question of how long this current regime will give a project like Pryor, who was the last major decision made by the late Al Davis

There's no loyalty involved with a roster move made by a former GM. 

The list of mistakes was a long one, even before Pryor. The majority of them have handcuffed McKenzie as he took over this roster. 

There were outrageous contracts, such as the deals given to Stanford Routt (five years, $54.5 million), Kamerion Wimbley (five years, $35 million). Both players were released by McKenzie and currently play elsewhere. 

There were crazy trades, like sending a 2012 first-round pick and 2013 second-round pick to Cincinnati for quarterback Carson Palmer.

Keep in mind that this was a quarterback with a 14-18 record and a passer rating of 82.1 in the two years before the Raiders acquired him. He was past his prime and on the downside of his career. Plus, Palmer turns 33 years old in December. Yet the Raiders gave away drafting gold to get him.

Even now, the deal can be widely seen as a disaster for anyone looking at it outside the Bay Area. 

And I don't even need to mention the 2007 drafting of JaMarcus Russell to make this point. 

It's been a shaky decision after shaky decision for this front office over the last several years. 

I have little doubt that McKenzie has both the eye for personnel and experience dealing with good football teams needed to turn around the Raiders franchise. At some point, the Raiders will be back, and I wouldn't be at all shocked if it was much sooner than most think. 

But there's no denying the recent history of mistakes, including using a third-rounder on Pryor.

By this time next year, he may be fighting tooth and nail to make it on this team—just as a tight end. While arguably one of the most athletic players in the game—a 6'5", 240-pound specimen—Pryor just is not a quarterback. 

Raiders fans can rejoice that Pryor playing quarterback for this team is probably one of the last major blunders the Raiders front office will make. Good times are coming, but Pryor probably isn't going to be a major part of it.