Oakland Raiders: The Career of Jamarcus Russell
Jamarcus Russell came to the NFL as the first overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft. He was also the first black quarterback to be drafted number one overall in the NFL. From the begining the pressure and the microscope that would be on Russell would be huge from the media, fans (supporters and non-supportes), teammates and players all around the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders led by their maverick owner Al Davis covets a special type of player. They must be the Biggest, Strongest, and Fastest in the NFL. The reasoning behind this is when they reach their full potential they will be unstopable. The Oakland Raiders have many fans because of this premis. Many fans just don't want to see their team win they want to see their team dominate.
Jamarcus Russell coming out of LSU has everything that the Raiders and Al Davis covets. Russell is listed as 6'6 and 245lbs. Russell has the strongest arm that Al Davis has ever seen and is mobile for being such a large man. Russell also won a lot of games during his college and high school days because he was/is the biggest, strongest guy on the field which endeared him to Al Davis and the Raiders.
Russell's career has not gone the way Al Davis and the Raiders would have wanted it to go thus far. As of now Russell has a quarterback rating of 65.2 for his career. Russell has thrown for 4,083 yards for his career. Russell has only 18 touchdowns with 23 interceptions and 25 lost fumbles for his career. To put this in perceptive Jason Campbell passed for 3,618 yards and 20 touchdowns with 15 ints just this past year!
Less than 50% of all first round quarterbacks make it in the NFL. For every Payton Manning there is a Tim Couch and for every Eli Manning there is a Ryan Leaf. The position is extremley dificult to master and even worse for a number one overall pick because so much is expected of you to be the face of the franchise and it's savior. The Raiders and Russell did not fully understood what was needed from each party.
When Jamarcus Russell was drafted the first thing Russell should have done was call out to a former/current quarterback that could mentor him. Warren Moon and Doug Williams come to mind because they were both highly successful quarterbacks in the NFL and both are african american quarterbacks that came to the NFL in a time that they were very few if any black quarterbacks in the NFL. They would have giving him tips on everything from how to handle the media to his preparation and leadership duties. It seems Russell has not done this and it has hurt his progression in the NFL. Remember Payton and Eli Manning both had Archie Manning(arguably the best QB that never had a good team around him) to mentor them for the NFL and as a franchise quarterback.
When the Raiders drafted Russell two things should have happend that did not. First ownership and the coaching staff should both be on board with their first overall pick, which they were not. Secondly a plan should have been put into place to help Russell grow from day one (ie. get him in camp on time, veteran QB to be the quarterback coach, give him extra work in film study etc). A house divided always falls and with Lane Kiffen (head coach at the time) and Al Davis disagreeing on this pick it was sure to hurt the young quarterbacks progression.
As a Raiders fan you never want to see a Raider player fail. Jamarcus Russell arguably has the best skill set of any quarterback in the NFL. Jamarcus Russell has not lived up to the leadership traits that he should be displaying as the number one overall pick. This is unexceptable and is the reason the organization has brought in Jason Campbell to be it's leader for the 2010 season. Maybe with time and maybe a change in venue Jamarcus Russell will turn his career around. Maybe.
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