By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 1:20 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Pinch-hitting for Steve Corkran today . . .
Dick Vitale said on his Twitter account the Raiders are hoping quarterback Terrelle Pryor isn’t another JaMarcus Russell.
He’s not the only one. I’ve heard it dozens of times since I wrote two months ago the Raiders should consider Pryor, an idea that became a reality Monday when Oakland forfeited its third-round pick in the 2012 draft to take the Ohio State quarterback.
Well, they’re both pretty big for quarterbacks and they do have the same skin color.
The comparisons end there.
Russell was cut after making $39 million, making it a disaster when he became a washout. Pryor, according to John Clayton’s calculations, will get around $591,000 guaranteed as the No. 18 pick in the third round, the way contracts are slotted.
Russell played 25 games as a college quarterback, going 21-4 an builidng his reputation with a Sugar Bowl MVP performance against an overmatched Notre Dame team. Pryor was 31-4, winning both the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl MVPs against more competitive opponents in Oregon and Arkansas.
Russell came in as a fabulous arm attached to a soft body and a questionable work ethic. Pryor’s passing game is said to be in need of work, but he’s a fabulous physical specimen whose propnensity for work has not been questioned.
Russell could play no other position but quarterback, unless the Raiders secretly toyed with the idea of lining him up inside with Tommy Kelly once his weight approached 300 pounds. Pryor could be either a wide receiver or a pass receiving tight end if it doesn’t work out at quarterback.
Is it possible Pryor doesn’t have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback? Absolutely, that’s the nature of the position. Happens all the time. But there are fallback options if it doesn’t as a playmaking receiver and the economic reality is his contract won’t be the elephant in the room as it was with Russell.