Any moves that are made by NFL teams at this time of year, especially those from squads with early picks in the upcoming draft, are done so under the microscope of what it could mean for their draft plans.
The Oakland Raiders, who hold the No. 5 pick in the draft, are reportedly trying to trade quarterback Terrelle Pryor before the start of their offseason program. Pryor was taken in the third round in the 2011 supplemental draft and has the distinction of being the final player taken by Al Davis.
Pro Football Talk passed along the news:
Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor before the start of the offseason program on Monday, per league source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 16, 2014
As Marc Sessler of NFL.com suggests, it’s not much of a leap to assume that Pryor will be released if the Raiders cannot find a trading partner in their limited window.
General manager Reggie McKenzie spoke to reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting about Pryor’s future after Oakland traded for Matt Schaub, via Sessler.
"Terrelle wants to start so bad," McKenzie said. "I'll visit with him. We'll talk to him."
Pryor appeared in 11 games and started nine in 2013 for Oakland. He threw for 1,798 yards and seven touchdowns on the season, but he also threw 11 interceptions. Pryor’s best attribute is his running ability, which was evidenced by his 576 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
He was eventually replaced behind center by undrafted rookie Matt McGloin.
Given the lack of quality backups across the league, Pryor will probably find a landing spot if he is released, even if Ross Tucker of NBC Sports Network thinks the former Ohio State Buckeye would be better suited as a tight end:
Still think he'd be an awesome TE. MT: @ProFootballTalk: Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) April 16, 2014
Of more interest, especially in the context of the upcoming draft, is what these trade discussions mean for the Raiders going forward.
Schaub is the presumed starter and McGloin is the backup for now, but trading or releasing Pryor means a quarterback spot would open up on the roster. There is plenty of depth at the signal-caller spot in a 2014 draft class that includes the likes of Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Derek Carr and even Tom Savage, among others.
Simply because the Raiders are trying to move Pryor doesn’t mean they will use the No. 5 pick on a quarterback. After all, it’s not as if Pryor was going to start anyway.
Will the Raiders take a quarterback with the No. 5 pick?
Still, that vacant quarterback spot that trading or releasing Pryor would create is hard to ignore. Oakland has either attended the pro days or welcomed all the previously mentioned quarterbacks for visits during the offseason. Bortles was the most recent signal-caller to meet with the Raiders’ brass, so it is clear there is at least some level of interest there.
In addition to Schaub, the Raiders signed veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew this offseason, so it's clear they are trying to fortify the offense for 2014 with experienced players. With that in mind, Schaub probably isn’t the quarterback of the future, even if he does start in 2014. But his presence enables the team to take its time grooming a rookie of its choice.
Look for Oakland to attempt to find that quarterback of the future by taking a young signal-caller at some point in the draft, especially if it can clear a roster spot by releasing or trading Pryor.
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