Draft Outlook: Quarterback

One story in a series that looks ahead to the 2004 NFL draft by position and how it affects the Oakland Raiders. Today, here's a look at quarterback:

What the Raiders have: With the acquisition of Randy Moss and resigning of Jerry Porter at wide receiver, the Oakland Raiders look like a team that the strong-armed Kerry Collins will lead. Collins performed much like most people expected when the Raiders signed him as a free agent. When he was good, he could be real good. When he was bad, he could be real bad.

This season should be easier on Collins because he enters the season as the frontrunner instead of being Rich Gannon's backup. Speaking of Gannon, he agreed to a paycut last month. The 40-year old Gannon has finished the last two seasons on injured reserve.

Then, there's Marques Tuiasosopo, whom the Raiders drafted in the second round of 2001. The fact that they signed Collins last year as a free agent clearly suggested that they weren't comfortable with the idea of going with Tuiasosopo under center.

What the Raiders might do: Gannon has agreed to a paycut but that doesn't mean he'll be a Raider much longer.

Oakland is likely to release Gannon after June 1, when it will be a more salary cap friendly time to make that move. They won't have to pay the accelerated part of his signing bonus until the 2006 season if they release him at that time. It is also possible that Gannon will retire. He sustained a cracked vertebra in Game 3 against Tampa Bay and did not play the remainder of the season.

As for Tuiasosopo, he's had a few mop-up appearances and has played what amounts to one game, one half on consecutive weeks in 2003. With or without keeping Gannon, it's doubtful the Raiders would select a quarterback since they have other more pressing needs. Unless there's a late round prospect on Day Two that intrigues them, the Raiders are not likely to draft a quarterback.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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