For years, the Oakland Raiders have built up a reputation as a franchise that would take any NFL player as long as talent was there, no matter what the player’s past. It certainly hasn’t translated to wins for one of the most successful franchises in league history and the team has become almost like the Island of Misfit Toys.
On Monday, Oakland added another player to the island.
The Raiders used a third-round pick in the NFL’s supplemental draft to select former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the team has now forfeit its third-round selection in the 2012 draft. Pryor will miss the first five games of the season and will not be eligible to practice with the Raiders until week six. This decision came several weeks ago when Commissioner Roger Goodell gave Pryor a five-game suspension, which was the same number of games he would have missed if he returned to Ohio State. Pryor has made it clear he will not appeal the suspension.
Pryor was investigated for a memorabilia-for-cash scandal that led to the resignation of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel last spring and forced the quarterback to give up his final season with the Buckeyes.
The acquisition came with little surprise, as the Raiders have made moves like this before in the past, taking players who have off field problems that it hopes won’t affect their play. Most recently the Raiders selected LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell - a player many teams might have passed on - No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft, despite his lack of work ethic. He was arrested just two and a half years later for possession of an illegal substance. He is not currently on an NFL roster.
One of Russell’s successors, Jason Campbell is now in his second season with Oakland and had a mediocre year in 2010, throwing 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The 6-foot-6 Pryor is a similar style quarterback but has more mobility, especially in the pocket. In his junior season with the Buckeyes, Pryor threw for 2,772 yards and 27 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, which helped lead Ohio State to a victory in the Sugar Bowl.
The only way he might see playing time after he serves his suspension is if the Raiders are battling serious injuries at the quarterback position. Owner Al Davis has always liked size and speed and we wouldn’t be surprised if he uses him just to get more media hype surrounding the team.
Five other players were eligible today but were not chosen.
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.