The Carson Palmer experiment continues to fail for the Oakland Raiders and must be ended at the end of 2012.
The Raiders will have a clear opportunity for a fresh start with a top QB not named JaMarcus Russell. Signal-callers like Matt Barkley of USC and Geno Smith of West Virginia will sit atop the big board, and both make sense for the Raiders.
However, Smith is the better option for Oakland moving forward. Let's breakdown why.
Smith Best Fits the Scheme
For better or worse, the Raiders have clear desires when it comes to the quarterback position. Smith, however, is not just another strong armed kid with no accuracy.
Yes, he can throw the ball a country mile, but he is also unafraid to stand tall in the pocket and deliver accurate throws to receivers all over the field. Playing in the Big 12 does not exactly lend itself to elite defensive competition, but Smith has looked superb against what he has seen.
The West Virginia Mountaineer has a completion percentage of 74.2, 2,414 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season. That's right, he completes a vast majority of his passes without the risk of turning the ball over. That may be a concept foreign to the Raiders organization over the years, but it would be of paramount importance moving forward.
Smith has the size and skill of the QBs Oakland has always gone after, but he combines those traits with an ability to be smart with the football
Barkley is Unpredictable
The USC QB is a tremendous football player with a limitless amount of potential. When he is playing at his best, few can match him throw-for-throw. The problem is that he is not always at his best. Barkley can follow up an elite performance with one that makes you want to scold him vehemently.
After completing 76.7 percent of his passes and throwing six touchdowns against the Syracuse Orange, he laid an egg in the biggest game of USC's season to date against the Stanford Cardinal.
In that contest, Barkley completed just 48.8 percent of his passes with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. It is these kind of unbalanced performances that leave cause for concern.
Yes, he is a great prospect that can do everything required of a star QB, but he does not do so as consistently as Smith.
That has to count for something if the Raiders have a choice between the two.
Stability and continuity are essential to the resurgence of the Raiders organization. Playmakers such as Darren McFadden, Darius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore are already in place along the offense, but a new QB is needed desperately.
Smith has everything necessary to exceed at the next level and would be a great compliment to the weapons already on the Raiders' depth chart . He is a smart and accurate passer that is devoid of cockiness or attitude.
There is no such thing as a sure thing when drafting a QB (and Oakland knows this well), but Smith is the best choice Oakland can make if given the opportunity.