Terrell Pryor found a suitor today, when the Oakland Raiders came calling for him in the third-round of the supplemental draft. What inspired the Oakland Raiders, a team with perhaps more pressing needs, to go after the Ohio State quarterback? A variety of reasons, most of which centered on the needs of Al Davis, rather than the actual needs of the team.
Al Davis is the deciding vote of the Oakland Raiders, whether you like it or not. Davis is more intrigued and allured by the “athlete”, not the football player. He fawns over players who can run sub-4.4 40’s and give off the impression that they can be versatile in the offensive scheme. Pryor is no exception, as he immediately becomes one of the fastest quarterbacks in the NFL. He ran a 4.41 40 (which isn’t sub-4.4, but he’ll get a pass), so he immediately was picked up by Davis’ outdated and technologically flawed radar. Whenever Al Davis sees someone who comes with shiny features, he plays the role of the curious cat (horrible imagery, I realize, but the point is there). It remains to be seen whether Pryor can translate his athletic gifts into football skills, and Al Davis will be damned if he doesn’t find out.
Although Campbell has played moderately well this preseason, there always seems to be a question mark hovering over his head. He has always been a competent quarterback (60.8% completion rate, 68-46 TD-INT ratio), but it seems that Campbell is in a perpetual state of stagnation. He never seems to improve, but he never seems to get worse. This is obviously frustrating at times. It is not totally unreasonable to imagine the Raider coaching staff (AKA Al Davis) becoming impatient, and wanting to utilize Pryor at some point. Not really as a starter per se, but as a change of pace.
Jason Campbell is also a player who tends to get injured. He was the recipient of various knee injuries earlier in his career, and those do not always go away. Recently (i.e. Saturday), Campbell was knocked out of a preseason game against the 49ers when he was kneed in the head by a defender. He is going under concussion testing now, and appears to be OK, but head injuries are always tricky. With all these red flags poking out of Campbell’s body, it probably is a smart decision to get some kind of quarterbacking reinforcement.
This also goes in line with Davis’ ideology of explosive players. The AFC West is a division obsessed with offense, and the Raiders do not want to fall behind the curve. The Chargers and Chiefs are loaded with fast, high-octane guys, and even the Broncos will surprise you with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. It makes sense for the Raiders, in the division that they play, to want to compete offensively with their competitors. Pryor may not be a quick fix for that desire, but at his best, he could prove to be at least exciting. At his worst, an exciting disaster.