Looking at the last eight years of carnage that this organization and the almost forgone conclusion that this weekend's Sunday tilt is just another nail in the coffin to another double-digit loss season makes me wonder what if? I'm not talking about all the ridiculous quarterback options everyone and their mamma assumes is the answer from Michael Vick to Colt Brennan? Really? I'm talking about a franchise quarterback that we actually had a chance at drafting and in process could have stuck it to a division rival. None other than this guy...
Yes Raider fan, none other than Phyllis "Cry Me a" Rivers could have been the Oakland Raiders quarterback of the future back in 2004. Read on if you would like.
Back in 2004, Oakland having come off at the time the recent firing of Bill Callahan and the hiring of mild-mannered Norv Turner had the 2nd pick in the draft and it was almost an after thought that they were leaning towards picking Iowa left tackle Robert Gallery. At 6-7 325 lbs and as nimble-footed as they come was considered the "safest pick in the entire NFL draft". In fact to show how out of touch Mel Kiper is, he said the Raiders may have picked the best player the entire draft. LOL! So much is made of Oakland failing to pick up the next guy Larry Fitzgerald who went 3rd to Arizona or the failure to draft Ben Rothlisberger with his early success however the one player who many regard as the best young quarterback had a chance to be drafted by the Raiders and Al missed the chance at giving the preverbial middle finger to both AJ Smith and old pal Marty Schottenheimer.
Many know the story that San Diego was unaware of how good Drew Brees was going to be that they were hell-bent on drafting a quarterback. Eli Manning was touted as the best available and San Diego was going to draft him whether the Clampets err Mannings liked it or not. Chief Manning, Archie wanted his son to instead go to New York. With the Giants holding the 4th pick and Marty having a man crush on the coach's son from NC State would be willing to part with the Manning pick for a 1st the following year and that year's 3rd. The deal went off without a hitch. San Diego ultimately got the quarterback Marty wanted and was able to draft his college teammate Shawn Merriman the following year. The team was able to win 5 of the next 6 AFC West titles and the rest is history.
Of course hindsight is always 20/20 unless you run the Raiders but that is besides the point. Just imagine if this was to happen for a minute without dry-heaving. If Al had for once went with his hard on for guys with big arms and pocket presence as opposed to going with the "safe pick" we wouldn't be throwing Raider parties for ridding ourselves of Jamarcus. We wouldn't have had to waste $39 million on 7 TDS and 18 INTS in the first place. Who knows what would have happened in San Diego and if Marty was smart enough to realize Drew Brees' brilliance? Would New Orleans have won last year's Super Bowl? Would Norv have been able to develop Rivers much like his former pupil Troy Aikman under Al's watch anyway? Instead of preparing for a new Charger streak this Sunday would we be the ones continuing one against them? One thing is for sure, we wouldn't be debating Gradkowski versus Campbell.