The Oakland Raiders had arguably one of the worst sets of quarterbacks in the NFL to start the 2013 season. By the end of the year, two of the four guys brought in to compete for playing time had been cut from the team and latched on elsewhere. As the off season gets underway, the Raiders still have the other two, Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor, under contract for the 2014 season.
Both McGloin and Pryor saw significant time as the starter in 2013 but neither was able to impress enough to be guaranteed a starting role next season. In fact, both general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen have said publicly that they are not sure if the quarterback of the future is on the Raiders roster yet.
So as the Raiders head into the off season with instability at quarterback, in a league where the quarterback is easily the most important position on the field, it has to be the number one priority, right?
I am not so sure. As the Seattle Seahawks just showed in the Super Bowl, while a franchise quarterback is huge, so is a great defense. And putting together a great defense is easier than the needle in a haystack game involved in finding a franchise quarterback. With the cap space and draft picks available to McKenzie, he has the opportunity to build a truly dominant defensive unit. Laying that foundation before spending too much on a quarterback will benefit whoever the Raiders eventually chose to lead the franchise.
Meanwhile, there are two young guys on the Raiders roster with potential. It is true that there is a chance neither one is capable of leading the team, but it makes sense to build a team around them while drafting a quarterback in a later round. That would give the Raiders three young quarterbacks with potential to develop while also assuring the team will be competitive with a dominant defense.
Quarterback may be the most important position in the NFL, but chasing a franchise guy without first building a solid team is a good way to find yourself at the bottom of league standings year after year.