Going into the 2012 season, quarterback is at long last the position at which the Raiders have the least amount of concern. The position is manned by an All-Pro, Heisman-winning, former number one overall pick in Carson Palmer. He is backed up by a solid veteran and also former Heisman winner Matt Leinart, and third on the depth chart is supplemental pick Terrelle Pryor, a tremendous athlete in his own right who will be given the opportunity to learn the system without any pressure to perform immediately.
The Raiders gave up a lot to get Carson Palmer, but a player of his skill and caliber always requires great sacrifice to acquire. He has a huge arm, good accuracy, and a quick release which somewhat negates his lack of mobility. He can make all the throws and has the ability to lead Oakland's speedy receivers with pinpoint downfield throws. He is a good fit for OC Gregg Knapp's system, as he can make all the throws Matt Schaub was asked to make in Houston under Knapp. Palmer will not have any receiver remotely as good as Andre Johnson, but the Raiders WR corps as a whole is vastly superior to Houston's (and Cincinnati's when Palmer last played there) and Palmer will be able to take advantage of that. Look for a huge year from Carson Palmer.
Matt Leinart is the perfect backup for this team. He's a California guy, a smart player who previously backed up Palmer at USC, and played in the Greg Knapp system last year in Houston. He showed flashes of being really good last year before suffering an injury. He will know his role and should anything ill befall Palmer, Leinart will be better than Kyle Boller was last year. That's really all the Raiders ask at this point. He was thrown to the wolves in Arizona, but has been a solid backup since then. He may end up taking the long route on the Matt Schaub career path, wherein he languishes as a backup for some time before a team picks him up to be the starter. He is precisely what the Raiders need at this juncture.
Finally, there's Terrelle Pryor. Many people felt Al Davis was daft to use a third-round supplmental pick on Pryor. Those people apparently never watched Pryor play in college. He is extremely athletic and willed Ohio State to many victories seemingly on his own, He was one of those Cam Newton man-amongst-boys type players in the Big Ten and dominated the competition. There was clearly nobody in the third round this year remotely close to Pryor's level of skill and football talent. He will have every opportunity to develop into this team's long-term answer at QB, as neither of the top two QBs on the depth chart have long-term futures here. Pryor is the perfect guy to slowly develop and mold into that role. If all goes well for him he could develop into a Randall Cunningham-style dual threat at quarterback and make the Raiders even more dynamic on offense than they are currently.
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