Even with their shoddy record for selecting players the past several years, principally a speed-based approach that has produced mostly crap-shoot results, the Oakland Raiders' gamble in choosing former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the third round of Monday's supplemental draft might have been a gamble that was worth taking.
The choice of Pryor, in which the Raiders will forfeit their third-round choice in the 2012 draft, leaves Oakland with no selections in the second, third, or fourth stanzas next year. But it at least provides the Raiders with the promise of securing the rights to a player who might help in the future.
Given the aforementioned dubious results of the team's recent drafts, that's a rarity.
Pryor — the only one of the six players eligible who was selected — might never take a snap at quarterback for the Raiders, who, in the typical Al Davis obsessed-with-speed fashion, plan to first audition the former Buckeyes' star as a wide receiver. But know this, too: Oakland doesn't have a single veteran quarterback on the roster under contract beyond this season.
Starter Jason Campbell and backups Trent Edwards and Kyle Boller are all working on one-year deals.
And there is this: As is the case with Buffalo Bills do-it-all veteran Brad Smith, more franchises are likely to seek versatile players who can fill multiple roles. And fewer teams probably will dress three quarterbacks in 2011. In the past two seasons, there have been only 13 occasions in which a team used all three quarterbacks in a game, and just seven times in which three quarterbacks registered pass attempts.
No matter where the Raiders stick Pryor in camp, the fact remains that he has played quarterback at a high level. At 6-feet-5, 232 pounds, and with a 40-yard time of 4.44 seconds — that was the clocking on a Raiders scouts' watch, as opposed to the 4.41 widely reported (still pretty fast) — Pryor can be a fourth or fifth wide receiver, an H-back, perhaps even a flexed tight end in some situations.
He doesn't necessarily have to specialize anymore to be at least borderline special for an Oakland team always fascinated by physical tools. With everything Pryor has been through the past two months, the likelihood is that he'll arrive in Oakland with a chip on his shoulder, a guy willing to work hard to prove the skeptics wrong. That figures to be an added benefit.
For the price, likely a signing bonus somewhere between $586,000-$591,000 and a four-year contract with minimum salaries, the move to choose Pryor looks at first blush to be a solid one for the Oakland organization.
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Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The Sports Xchange. He has covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.