What does drafting Walter mean for Tui?

The Oakland Raiders drafting of quarterback Andrew Walter from Arizona State might further signal that Marques Tuiasosopo's days in Oakland could be numbered even though the team is not likely to suggest such.

Rich Gannon's days with the Oakland Raiders will, in all likelihood, end on June 1 after finishing the last two seasons on injured reserve. To that end, Kerry Collins is firmly entrenched as the starter.

With Gannon's inevitable retirement, the Raiders need to draft a quarterback became more of a priority. Oakland drafted Tuiasosopo in the second round of the 2001 draft but the team does not know any more about Tuiasosopo since, other than a few mop-up appearances, he has played what amounts to one game.

Tuiasosopo replaced an injured Gannon in a game against Kansas City and then suffered a season-ending knee injury the following week in a game at Detroit. With the Raiders season at that time falling by the wayside coupled with Gannon's season-ending shoulder injury, which time appeared to be ideal to get a long look at Tuiasosopo.

There could be a more significant reason that Tuiasosopo might not fit in Oakland much longer. The Raiders drafted him in 2001 when Jon Gruden was the head coach. Gruden's offense, while he might bristle at the notion, was geared more toward mobile quarterbacks with the short-to-intermediate passing game.

Walter, on the other hand, fits current head coach Norv Turner's philosophy of throwing the ball deep.

"Coach Turner's philosophy is why throw the ball eight yards when you can get 18?" Walter said. "That fits with what I've done all along."

The 6-6, 230-pound Walter comes with an impressive resume. He set virtually every Arizona State career and single-season record for passing and total offense. Walter also crushed the Pac-10 Conference career touchdown record with 85, breaking the 22-year-old mark held by John Elway who had 77 scoring passes at Stanford (1979-82).

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

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