There was something predictable about Oakland's selection of Terrelle Pryor in today's supplemental draft, and it wasn't the pick itself: it was the mad rush among pundits to point out the inevitability of the Raiders taking a guy with a spotty past. It's the laziest sort of joke, and one your 50-something-year-old local columnist will be making tomorrow morning. The Raiders are dirty and they're a bunch of criminals and Pryor will fit right in. Except it's an outdated stereotype and not particularly accurate. The Raiders' reputation dates back to a bitter Chuck Noll "criminal element" quip from 35 years ago, and isn't backed up in the police blotter. In the last decade, the Raiders have had three players arrested on felony charges, and immediately cut ties with two of them. (The third had his charges dropped.)
It's a storyline crutch, and it's easier than looking ahead to the 2012 draft, one that ought to be thin at quarterback, and praising the Raiders for trying to fill one of their most pressing positional needs now. Had Oakland done nothing to address the quarterback question, they'd be made fun of. Had they re-signed Jason Campbell to be the long-term solution, they'd be made fun of. Instead they get an undeniable athlete (insert even lazier 40-yard-dash joke here) who's managed to succeed at the highest level for a reasonable price, and they're being made fun of.
When the Patriots get a talented guy with character issues in the third round, they're praised to the high heavens. When the Raiders do it, they're punchlines, only because they're the Raiders and they've been snakebitten before and JaMarcus Russell's past somehow dictates Terrelle Pryor' future. Hey, it beats having to actually evaluate a football player by his football playing.