We're at that point in the NFL offseason schedule where everything -- no matter how seemingly innocuous -- should be questioned. Nothing should be taken at face value because everyone -- from agents to front-office types -- has an agenda. Namely: to obscure the truth and artificially adjust the market for a player in the process.
With that in mind, we bring you this from ESPN's Chris Mortensen (via Rotoworld), who reported Wednesday that the Raiders are interested in West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the third overall pick in April's draft. Smith certainly fits the Raiders profile: he has a strong arm and he was the fastest quarterback at the combine.
And, sure, there could be legitimate interest. But Oakland, an outfit that won four games last season, has more immediate needs beyond quarterback. If that sounds glib in today's pass-happy NFL, it's worth remembering two things: This draft class doesn't appear to have any legit franchise QBs. And even if Carson Palmer isn't in the organization's long-term plans, the jury is still out on Terrelle Pryor.
The team's 2011 third-round pick in the supplemental draft, Pryor started one game in 2012 and he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job in 2013.
"We're going to have a competition not only at [QB]," general manager Reggie McKenzie told PFT last week, "we're going to have it up front on the o-line, we're going to have it everywhere and that's why we want to open this thing to, we want to open the doors for everybody, just come out and compete, whatever happens, happens.”
Worth noting: none of the six mock drafts currently on CBSSports.com has the Raiders taking a quarterback with the No. 3 pick.
(Because we know you're wondering: Rob Rang has Oakland drafting DE Bjoern Werner; Dane Brugler, Peter Prisco and Will Brinson like DT Sharrif Floyd; Clark Judge has OG Chance Warmack; and Pat Kirwan has DE Dion Jordan.)
That doesn't mean Oakland's coaches, scouts, and front office won't consider it, just that we're eight weeks out from the draft and not everything is as it seems. There may be ulterior motives at work. Like, say, trying to get a quarterback-needy team that has Smith highly rated on its draft board to trade up and get him.
For the time being, the plan is for the Raiders to see what they have in Pryor.
"I like the ceiling of Terrelle Pryor and where we think he can get to, but his skill set is completely different than Carson's, so we go forward with the idea, we know what Carson Palmer is," new offensive coordinator Greg Olson said recently. "He's played in the league a number of years. We know what he can do. We don't really know quite yet what Terrelle Pryor can do at this level but we have a good feel for what he is athletically, so there will be packages for both of them to allow them to compete and we'll just be ready in either direction."
Unless, of course, another direction emerges in the coming months.