Now? The Raiders are more at home as a punchline than as a serious contender.
Owner Al Davis, in his kindest light, has long been known as a renegade. In layman's terms, however, he is just one crazy mo fo.
In the last 30 years, Davis has done some crazy things. He hates the NFL (see lawsuits one thru one million). He hates most of his head coaches (see Jon Gruden trade to Tampa for 4 draft picks, lawsuit against former head coach Tom Cable, and very public battle against Lane Kiffin). He hates Los Angeles (see moving team to LA from Oakland, demanding a monopoly on the LA TV market, and promptly moving the team back to Oakland).
But perhaps the most perplexing is the owner's head scratching trades of quality players juxtaposed against some of the biggest draft blunders in league history:
- JaMarcus Russell. I've mentioned the former LSU QB and top pick in the 2007 draft a few times on here before. The big, burly player held out through training camp and the first week of the season before signing a multi-million dollar deal. And is now known as the biggest draft bust pick OF. ALL. TIME.
- Bob Buczkowski. The DE from Pittsburgh managed only 2 games and 1.5 sacks with Oakland before taking an extremely early retirement.
- The Randy Moss trade. Yeah, that worked out well.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey. Look, I like the former Maryland receiver. And as a WVU girl, that's tough for me to say. But the Raiders had no business drafting him as the 7th overall pick in 2009, especially over standouts Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin.
- Todd Marinovich. Touted as the future of the team in 1991, the 24th overall draft pick (ahead of some guy named Brett Favre) would have made the perfect poster boy for Intervention: he ultimately failed three NFL drug tests due to marijuana use and left the league after 2 years.
- Nnamdi Asomugha. When your team is mediocre, why on Earth do you get rid of your best player?
So with such an infamous history of questionable choices, the obvious question is this:
Will the taking of QB Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft be a genius move or just another Al Davis bust to add to the list?
It's no secret that running college quarterbacks tend to be unsuccessful at the same position in the NFL. Yet, that's what the Raiders took Pryor for. Obviously Pryor is a quality athlete, fast and tall, but many feel he doesn't have the arm strength and skills to make it as a top-rated passer. Does Pryor have the will to learn a new position, and more importantly, will the Raiders be able to develop his talent properly?
Pryor also comes with major baggage, namely a five game suspension to start out his professional career. Though he might have "officially" left his NCAA career behind, we all know that you can never quit a scandal (just ask Reggie Bush).
For now, the young, beleaguered player is saying and doing all the right things in his new California home. With some patience and maturity, I believe Pryor has the talent to become a successful player for the Raiders.
And hey, even if he's a bust, at least he can take comfort that he's no JaMarcus Russell.
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So what do you think sports fans? Can the Raiders return to their glory days? Will Pryor turn out to be a good choice or a bust? Is Al Davis not the scariest thing you've ever seen? Hit me up and let me know!!!