Why It's Time for Oakland Raiders to Start Terrelle Pryor

Dan WilkinsCorrespondent IIDecember 3, 2012

Aug. 17, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback (6) Terrelle Pryor calls a play against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting at 3-9 in a disappointing 2012 season, it is now time for the Oakland Raiders to see what they have with young QB Terrelle Pryor.

General manager Reggie McKenzie is in, and will continue to be in, full rebuild mode within all areas of this team. At this point, there is little argument to be made against the fact that the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL.

With that being said, McKenzie needs to evaluate the roster from top to bottom. As he alluded to in his media availability on Friday, that includes seeing Terrelle Pryor on the field.

The argument has and will be continue to be made that Carson Palmer is not the problem. This is not to dispute that, as Palmer's play is anything but the reason for the Raiders' nine losses thus far.

However, by season's end Palmer is going to be 33 years old. There is reason to believe that by the time this team can be rebuilt, and is finally ready to compete, Palmer will be well past his prime.

Considering that, and his very high cap number, he could become expendable as soon as this coming offseason. As a result, the Raiders would be wise to see if their future at the QB position is already on the roster.

Long having been eliminated from playoff contention, now is as good a time as any for the coaching staff and management to see what Terrelle Pryor is capable of doing on an NFL field.

In his extended preseason action, Pryor did struggle for the most part. At the same time, one has to remember that this was his first real playing time in the NFL, after his first training camp as well.

Struggles aside, Raiders fans will of course remember the performance that he put on in the third game, also being the team's lone win of the preseason.

In a 31-20 win over the Lions, Pryor connected with Juron Criner on long TDs of 39 and 76 yards, while adding a 17-yard TD and 90 total yards on the ground as well. Yes, this came in the second half against the second- and third-team defenses of the Lions, but such a performance highlights his rare skill set.

Looking around the league, we have seen quarterbacks with similar athletic ability have significant success in offenses tailored to their skills. The zone-read option plays have added a wrinkle to game plans that make those offenses tough to defend both on the ground and through the air.

The Raiders may or may not have a player in Pryor that, as a duel threat, can have similar success to a player like Colin Kaepernick. Again, the main point right now is, they don't know.

There has always been talk of the Raiders using Pryor in a Wildcat-like package to mix up the looks that the offense gives the defense. With the team set for a complete rebuild, even that would be useless at this point.

The only way that the Raiders will truly learn what it is that they have in Pryor, is to not only get him on the field, but to get him on the field as the starter. Nearing the conclusion of an extremely disappointing season, the Raiders have nothing to lose.

There is no better time than now to start Terrelle Pryor.