Andrew Walter Vince Young
It has turned out to be a busy week for NFL free agent quarterbacks, and as a result, the list of "premier" arms on the market has grown increasingly smaller. Daunte Culpepper was shipped to Miami, Jon Kitna is becoming a Lion, and Drew Brees is marching to New Orleans. So where does that leave the Raiders? Some say that bringing back Kerry Collins is still a viable option. But, if the Raiders are planning to stay within their own resources, second-year quarterback Andrew Walter should be given a shot.Selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft, Walter has tremendous potential to become an immediate difference-maker in the National Football League. In 2004 with Arizona State, he completed 244 of 426 passes for 3,150 yards, 30 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. In the previous year, he threw for 3,044 yards, 24 touchdowns, and ten interceptions. His sophomore year was groundbreaking for Arizona State football, as he became the first 3,000-yard passer with 3,877 yards. Even in his rookie campaign, Walter impacted the school's program, being named to the freshman All-Pac-10 team by the Sporting News despite starting just two games.For Al Davis and the Raiders, Walter seems to be the ideal quarterback. At 6'6", 230 pounds, the 23-year old fits the Raiders model quarterback perfectly. In general, he is a strong-armed passer that possesses a quick setup and follow-through. He has the ability to effortlessly throw the ball 50-60 yards down the field and connect with receivers in stride. Walter also has tremendous field vision and is a proven pocket passer in the face of pressure. And although he lacks mobility outside of the pocket, he demonstrated in college that he can evade the rush quite efficiently.One of the recurring arguments used against Walter is his proneness to injury. Up until the final game of his senior season against Arizona, however, Walter had gone uninjured throughout the entirety of his college career. In that game, Walter suffered a third-degree vertical separation of his throwing shoulder. On December 7, 2004 he underwent surgery to repair the right shoulder and was expected to make a full recovery by his rookie season's training camp. After sitting behind starter Kerry Collins and backup Marques Tuiasasopo for the 2005 season, Walter is sure to be fully recovered by now.And it's just in time. Much like Daunte Culpepper, who was rumored to become the Raiders next starting quarterback, Walter watched from the sidelines for his entire rookie season. The Vikings experiment turned into an 11-5 season in 2000, where Culpepper threw for 3,937 yards, 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Nevertheless, for Oakland to shoot their way up to an eleven-win season, Walter would have to play the position with brilliance.What's promising about that, however, is that in addition to the brilliance Walter showed at Arizona State, he also carried that into the 2005 NFL preseason. And although the four games that make up the preseason have become highly controversial as of late, they often provide an honest evaluation of young athletes in the NFL. If the evaluation is true to Walter, then giving him the ball may possibly play out to be the best decision that Al Davis can make this offseason.The problem? At 76, owner Al Davis just wants to win and Walter hasn't won any games in the NFL. But then again, neither has Vince Young, who Davis seems to be in love with. But with a season in Oakland already under his belt, Walter is already familiar with the system and unquestionably has the tools to become a concrete starter for the Raiders. Plus, giving Walter the job will free up the seventh selection in the 2006 NFL Draft, which could give the Raiders the opportunity to bolster their struggling defense.At 6'6", it's hard to circumvent the massive presence of Andrew Walter.