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News

John Lund's September 6 Wheel Route

Posted Sep 6, 2013

Host of 95.7 The GAME's Wheelhouse and new Raiders.com columnist John Lund checks in with the third installment of The Wheel Route.

Oakland Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen still has not named a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis. However, if Raiders dual-threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor faces off against Colts second-year prodigy signal caller Andrew Luck when the two teams meet in Indianapolis on Sunday it would be the first time on the field, but not off of it. 

The two budding quarterbacks were part of a historic high school-to-college recruiting class of 2008 which could help shape the position in the NFL for years to come. The class includes four former first round NFL picks, including the 2012 first overall pick in Luck, the 2012 offensive rookie of the year Robert Griffin III,  five 2013 projected opening game NFL starters and 12 quarterbacks currently in the NFL.

Pryor is an athletic marvel and was the number one high school football recruit in the land. His 6’5”, 230-pound frame and sub-4.4 speed led to an intense recruiting battle for his services between his final two suitors Michigan and Ohio State. The Jeannette, Pa.,-native directed both his high school football and basketball teams to state championships as a senior. The football team was 16-0 his final year and the hoops squad was 53-9 in his junior and senior seasons combined. Pryor ended up a Buckeye, where he finished with 74 total touchdowns in three seasons in Columbus.

Luck was a virtuoso from Houston, Texas, seemingly destined to play quarterback. His dad Oliver is a former second-round pick who played the position in the NFL for four seasons. The former Stanford All-American was just the seventh-rated QB in the 2008 class, but would eclipse that ranking the moment he stepped onto a college field. He left the Cardinal with 82 career touchdown passes and twice finished runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. In 2012 he was selected with the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft by the Colts and set a rookie record for passing yards with 4,374 last season. 

While those two could be under center and in the middle of the Raiders-Colts match-up Sunday, two other current Raiders quarterbacks were in that 2008 high school class as well. Raiders’ back-up Matt McGloin was the 45th rated signal caller in the class. He ended up at Penn State where he threw 46 career touchdowns against only 19 interceptions. Raiders practice squad quarterback and fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson ended up at Arkansas. Wilson was the eighth rated overall QB in the 2008 class.

College scouts clearly missed on 2012 NFL offensive rookie of the year Robert Griffin III who was down the list as the fourth rated QB in the class. All he did was win the Heisman Trophy at Baylor. NFL scouts didn’t make the same mistake. Griffin was the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft and if he can return to form after a major knee injury last season, his future is as bright as a quarterback in the league.   

Notable quarterbacks in the 2008 QB class who haven’t quited live up to their dad’s names were Jack Elway, son of John who ended up at Arizona State and Nate Montana, son of Joe who played for four different colleges in his career.

The 2008 high school quarterback recruiting class: (Class ranking according to Rivals.com in parenthesis, all players currently in NFL)

 

PLAYER

SCHOOL

COMMENTS

Terrelle Pryor (1)

Ohio State

Raiders third round pick supplemental draft 2011, 57 touchdowns passing, 17 rushing, over 7,500 total yards in college career.

Mike Glennon (3)

North Carolina State

Buccaneers third round pick, 73rd overall 2013. 62 TD passes last two seasons in college.

Robert Griffin III (4)

Baylor

Redskins first round pick, second overall 2013 NFL draft. Won Heisman Trophy in 2012, 78 passing TDs, 33 rushing TDs in college career.

Blaine Gabbert (5)

Missouri

Jaguars first round pick, 10th overall 2011 NFL draft. 40 TD passes, 18 interceptions in college career.

EJ Manuel (6)

Florida State

Bills first round pick, 16th overall 2013 NFL draft, 41 TD passes, 18 interceptions last two seasons at Florida State.

Andrew Luck (7)

Stanford

Colts first round pick, first overall 2012 NFL draft. 82 TD passes, 22 interceptions in three seasons at Stanford.

Tyler Wilson (8)

Arkansas

Raiders fourth round pick 2013 NFL draft, 45 TD passes, 19 interceptions last two seasons at Arkansas.

Landry Jones (11)

Oklahoma

Steelers fourth round pick 2013 NFL draft, 123 career TD passes at Oklahoma.

Matt McGloin (45)

Penn State

Raiders undrafted quarterback, currently third on depth chart. 46 career touchdown passes with 19 interceptions.

Zac Dysert (55)

Miami (Ohio)

Broncos seventh round pick in 2013, 73 career touchdown passes and over 12,000 yards in college.

BJ Daniels (56)

South Florida

49ers seventh round pick in 2013, 52 career TD passes, 25 rushing TDs in college. 

Ryan Nassib (NR)

Syracuse

New York Giants fourth round pick in 2013 NFL draft. 70 career touchdown passes, 28 interceptions.

FOUR DOWNS: Key notes, stats and match-ups previewing the Raiders at Colts on Sunday.

1. GET LUCKY: Andrew Luck completed 54 percent of his passes last season, lowest among qualified NFL starters. However the Colts had 65 plays of 20 yards in 2012, third in the NFL and only two plays behind NFL leader Detroit. Luck attempted 16.1 percent of his passes last season 20 yards down field, third most in the NFL. The Raiders must limit big plays. The key is pressure, as Luck doesn’t perform nearly as well when the pocket heats up. The former Stanford star was pressured on 38.8 percent of his dropbacks last season according to Pro Football Focus, fifth worst in the NFL. Under duress, he had just seven touchdown passes against eight interceptions and completed only 39.9 percent of his throws.

2. GROUND and POUND: The Colts gave up 137.5 yards per game on the ground last season, 29th in the NFL at 5.1 yards per carry which was 31st in the league. Indianapolis also gave up the most 20 yard runs last season with 21. Darren McFadden could have a break out game.  When McFadden rushes for 100 yards in a game in his career, the Raiders are 10-2, including 3-0 in 2012, (Pittsburgh once and Kansas City twice).

3. BARNES ON THE MOVE: If Menelik Watson cannot go on Sunday at left tackle, Khalif Barnes would likely play the position against the Colts. It would be the first time he has played on the left side since 2008 in Jacksonville. Barnes started 57 of his 60 career games at left tackle for the Jaguars from 2005 to 2008. The Raiders usual starting right tackle would see a heavy dose of Colts LB Robert Mathis who is currently sixth among active NFL players in career sacks with 91.5.

4. SLOW DOWN REGGIE: Colts veteran WR Reggie Wayne was the most targeted receiver in the NFL last season at 179. That number is the main reason Indianapolis signed former Raiders WR Darrius Heyward Bey. They hope it gives the team a second outside mark who could take some pressure off the veteran pass-catcher.  Wayne ran the second most plays from the slot in the NFL last season (421), behind only Wes Welker. In three wide receiver sets, I’m told the Raiders will push CB Tracy Porter into the slot leaving Mike Jenkins and D.J. Hayden outside. In Porter’s last healthy season, 2011 with the Saints, he played the slot for 216 snaps allowing only two touchdowns with one interception. Play in the slot between Wayne and Porter will be key. In wins last season Wayne averaged 7.4 receptions and nearly 96 yards per game. All five of his touchdowns came in Colts wins. In losses he averaged 5.3 catches, just over 66 yards per game and scored zero touchdowns. Slowing Wayne down will be critical.