During the 2012 NFL draft the Oakland Raiders were nearly invisible. From a fan’s perspective the draft was an empty one. The Raiders sat by and watched as other teams inked deals with big name players who will be hoping for a long NFL career. The fact of the matter is that no matter how good these players did in their underwear workouts the touchdowns they scored in college wont be translating over to the big leagues. I would love to see what Jeff George has to say to Andrew Luck about that. I wonder if RG3 recalls the name Heath Shuler (number 3 overall pick in 1994)? The Raiders on the other hand wont be leaving the fate of their franchise in the hands of a rookie.
Since the Raiders were not mentioned much on draft day lets talk about who they received for a first round pick. With the 17th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft the Oakland Raiders selected former Bengal, Carson Palmer. Picked by Cincinnati with the first overall pick in 2003 Carson Palmer had just won a heisman trophy. He was originally from Fresno, California and had decided to play college ball with the Trojans of USC. During his senior year at USC, Carson set school records in almost every category possible for a QB (passing yards, completions, and passing touchdowns). Becoming worthy of being selected number 1 overall by the Bengals. (Palmer was succeeded by Matt Leinart who ironically has been reported to be talking with the Raiders)
Carson Palmer rode the bench his rookie season learning under veteran, Jon Kitna. The next season Carson led the team to an 8-8 record struggling with interceptions which have since plagued him throughout his career. The following season (2005) the Palmer lead Bengals won the division with an 11-5 record making it to the playoffs. Unfortunately for Palmer his best season as a pro would be short lived. During the first playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Palmer suffered a career threatening knee injury. The knee injury didn’t stop a still young and determined Carson Palmer who bounced back the next season passing for over 4000 yards. Despite his success the Bengals would finish 8-8 and Carson would never again experience a winning season with the Bengals. The frustration of losing soon drove Palmer out of Cinncinatti and into Oakland.
The Raiders now for the first time since Rich Gannon, have a QB with a great future. The 2011 season showed everybody a glimpse of the rejuvenated Palmer (Throwing for 299 yards and two touchdowns against the rival San Diego Chargers in only his second start). Carson Palmer has since had a whole off-season with his new team and new staff, and seems to have a very positive outlook on the upcoming season (as evident in his interviews). The Raiders first pick in the draft at number 95 says it all. Picking a big offensive lineman is the best way to tell your QB that he is going to be given the opportunity to lead his team on his feet rather than his back. The Raiders opening up on Monday Night Football will give Carson the stage to show everybody why he is the best pick for this team in the 2012 draft.