Being the first overall pick in the NFL draft never insures greatness in the NFL, and former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell has proven just that in his first three seasons in the with the Oakland Raiders.
Coming out of LSU as a junior there was no doubting Russell’s tangibles or even that he was a good quarterback. That was not questioned at all by pro NFL scouts.
The only doubts teams had were his intangibles and work ethic, motivation, and drive to be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL. Al Davis, the Raiders infamous owner thought so and with the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft selected the strong armed quarterback to become the fact of the franchise in Oakland.
However, Russell’s career did not start off well in Oakland, both on and off the field.
Russell held out of training camp and into the first two games of the regular season because he felt he deserved top dollar for being the No. 1 overall pick. On September 12, 2007 Russell signed a six-year contract worth $68 million guaranteeing him $31 million.
Missing the entire training camp and two regular season games didn’t exactly sit well with former head coach Lane Kiffin. Kiffin did not name JaMarcus the starting quarterback until week 17 against the San Diego Chargers. He finished his rookie season with 36/66, 373 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
His second season in the NFL was his best season in Oakland and it also ushered in Tom Cable’s first win as Raiders head coach. Russell finished his second season in Oakland playing in 15 games and completing 198/368 for 2,423 yards, 13 TD’s and eight Int’s.
In 2009 he took a major step backward in his tenure throwing for only 1,287 yards, three touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 12 games. Many people in Oakland and around league believed that Tom Cable had to get JaMarcus Russell going or else he would be fired after the season.
That was not to be and instead Cable was retained as head coach and shortly after the NFL draft the Oakland Raiders ended JaMarcus Russell’s tenure in Oakland after just three season in the Bay Area. It was the shortest tenure by a No. 1 overall pick in NFL history (Ryan Leaf made it four years).
In talking with King 5 TV’s Andrea Nakano who use to work in San Francisco before joining King 5 in Seattle she believes that between the Bay Area draft busts (Russell and Alex Smith), Russell is the bigger draft bust but not by much.
So now with Russell being an unrestricted free agent and $39 million to boot from the Raiders he’s now in search of resurrecting his NFL career outside of the “Black Hole”.
Could the Seattle Seahawks take a flier on the 24-year-old quarterback? Possibly, however in the eyes of Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll he needs to “get in shape first and then he should be able to have success in the NFL, as long as he is motivated and wants to play football in the NFL”.
Caroll also added that he believes if given the opportunity he can make those changes, get in shape and be successful in the NFL. Could Carroll save Russell’s career? Yes.
However the Seahawks currently have Matt Hassselbeck (34), Charlie Whitehurst (27), and J.P Losman (29) on the current mini camp roster.
That won’t stop Carroll from bringing in more “competition” to the Seahawks and it could very well be good for both the Seahawks and Russell if Carroll decides to bring in the former No. 1 overall pick.
Russell, with $39 million in his pocket won’t hold out for any contract this time around and would most likely sign for the league minimum.
If the Seahawks believe they can get the slightest out of Russell and have him be in shape for off-season programs there is no reason why Seattle wouldn’t take a chance of a talented, but unmotivated quarterback.
Don’t expect anything in the next few weeks however because right now JaMarcus is more focused on getting his life and body in order before finding another team which is smart.