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Quarterback Matt McGloin is Raiders ultimate underdog

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If you're looking for an Oakland Raiders underdog to pull for this season, consider backup quarterback Matt McGloin. This guy has been defying the odds for a very long time.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin has been an underdog since leaving high school. He walked on at Penn State and joined the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent. Despite being underestimated, he's weathered numerous challengers and will be tested again in training camp.

An accomplished three-sport high school athlete, McGloin sparked so much NCAA interest that he had to walk-on at Penn State. Despite not being recruited by the Nittany Lions, he emerged as the institution's single season passing leader, single season touchdown leader, single season completion leader and career touchdown leader.

Naturally, the 6'1", 210-pound quarterback went undrafted in 2013 and wasn’t even at the start of Raiders rookie mini camp. He was trying out for the Panthers, who didn’t offer him a contract. He ended up in Oakland’s camp because they had a vacancy, due to UFA Kyle Padron attending college classes at the time.

McGloin made the most of his narrow window, only to become part of a quarterback log jam in Oakland after signing on as a free agent. He made the roster behind Terrelle Pryor — now a wide receiver in Cleveland — and the former Green Bay talent Matt Flynn.

Biding his time, McGloin outlasted them and proved he belonged in the NFL after a series of starts during his rookie season. He led the team to victory over the Houston Texans, and had the Raiders in the lead against Tennessee late in the game before the defense yielded a go-ahead touchdown. Unfortunately, the Dennis Allen-coached team summarily collapsed down the stretch.

However, McGloin managed to complete 55.9 percent of his passes for 1,547 yards in six starts and one relief effort, with an 8-8 in touchdown-to-interceptions ratio. Not bad for a rookie that was snubbed on draft day.

In 2014, McGloin was again expected to be third-fiddle or cut altogether as Reggie McKenzie brought in former Pro Bowl quarterback and NFL passing leader Matt Schaub. McGloin weathered that storm as well, and backed up second round draft pick Derek Carr. Last season McKenzie threw former first round draft pick and Vikings starter Christian Ponder, as well as Cody Fajardo at him. I believe both those challengers are currently out of pro football.

So, this year McKenzie drafts Connor Cook and there's much hooplah about his potential. Given Carr is undeniably the franchise quarterback, Cook and McGloin are vying for backup roles.

Hopefully, Cook turns out to be a great talent and the Raiders carry three quarterbacks this season. But, regardless, sometimes you have to back the little guy. You know, the guy people underestimate. So, I've got just one question before this quarterback competition heats up. How much does a McGloin jersey cost anyway?