Raiders take Terrelle Pryor in Supplemental Draft


Raiders take Terrelle Pryor in Supplemental Draft


PROGRAMMING NOTE: Chronicle Live is at Raiders training camp in Napa, where the topics will include Saturday night's violence at Candlestick Park, the drafting of Terrelle Pryor, Jason Campbell's condition and more. Tune in at 5, 9 and 11 p.m.

Paul Gutierrez

Predictably, the Raiders selected former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the NFL's supplemental draft Monday.Pryor, who would have been suspended the first five games of the Buckeyes' season had he returned to college for his role in a cash-and-tattoos-for-memorabilia scandal, will instead sit out the first five weeks of the Raiders' campaign for "decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL draft."He cannot practice or attend meetings during his suspension but can come to the final days of training camp, and according to, Pryor will be on a plane to the Bay Area from his Pittsburgh-area home this afternoon. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he anticipates signing a contract by the end of the day.RELATED: Pryor by the numbers
"I'll be there, and I'll be ready," Pryor told Raiders coach Hue Jackson in a phone conversation, according to "I can't wait."
According to Mac's Football Blog, Pryor should receive 586,000 to sign, with a rookie contract worth at least 2.62 million, based on the 2011 rookie pool and contracts for previous supplemental picks.The Raiders have made no announcements, other than confirming the pick came with the No. 18 selection of the third round. Oakland is scheduled to practice at 3:30 p.m. in Napa and Jackson speaks to the media after practice.Pryor was initially ruled ineligible by the NFL to take part in the supplemental draft before being green-lighted on Thursday. He held his personal Pro Day on Friday and 17 teams scouted him, including the 49ers, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Eagles, Patriots, Saints and Steelers.Obviously, the Raiders were struck by his athleticism and infatuated with his measurables -- he stood just under 6-foot-5 and weighed just over 232 pounds and was clocked as fast as 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash, on artificial turf.Still, there have been perhaps just as many questions about Pryor's character as to which position he'd play as a pro as he readied for the draft."I would like the opportunity to play quarterback," Pryor told reporters after his workout, "but I'll do anything that a team needs me to do to win."The Raiders have an established starter in Jason Campbell, but the 29-year-old is in the final year of his contract and he was just knocked out of the 49ers exhibition game after taking a knee to the helmet and experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Oakland also has two former starters backing up Campbell with Kyle Boller, 30, and Trent Edwards, 27.But Jackson has long made it known he would like a developmental quarterback as well.Pryor, 22, fits that bill, even as he was 8-1 as a freshman, won the Rose Bowl as a sophomore and threw for 2,722 yards with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while running for 754 yards and four TD's as a junior and winning the Sugar Bowl.Many scouts see Pryor as a wide receiver, and the Raiders have a history with converting an ultra-athletic QB with accuracy issues into a serviceable pass catcher. Or have you forgotten Ronald Curry?Pryor has a familiar face already in Napa in rookie cornerback and Ohio State product Chimdi Chekwa."Congrats to the homie T.P.," Chekwa Tweeted. "Welcome to the Bay homie. Lets do work!!"Many of Pryor's critics, though, see him as the second coming of JaMarcus Russell.In surrendering their third-round pick in next April's draft for Pryor, the Raiders were already without selections in the second and fourth rounds.Oakland traded its second-round pick in 2012, as well as its seventh-rounder in 2011, to New England in exchange for the Patriots' third- and fourth-round picks in 2011, selections that resulted in offensive lineman Joe Barksdale and running back Taiwan Jones. The fourth-round pick in 2012 was dealt to Washington in 2010 as part of the Campbell deal.The Raiders, though, figure to receive handsome compensatory picks in the 2012 draft -- perhaps as high as a third-rounder -- after losing free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery this offseason, even after signing Kevin Boss.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots


Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders cornerback David Amerson didn’t practice all week, but ran just well enough to be considered “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against New England.

Translation: Outlook for Sunday is not good, but Jack Del Rio’s fingers remained crossed real, real tight. The Raiders hope there’s a way he can be active against Tom Brady’s buzz saw attack, because their cover men are beat up.

Amerson has missed two straight with a foot injury, and has dealt with injury all year. Gareon Conley’s season officially ended Monday, when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Antonio Hamilton and Demetrius McCray were already there.

Reggie McKenzie hasn’t reached out for reinforcements. That leaves TJ Carrie, Dexter McDonald and Sean Smith to play cornerback. Carrie’s been the rock, a sure tackler who hasn’t made spectacular plays but doesn’t give them up. McDonald has been forced into action, with holes let in his game.

Smith should be the No. 1 guy in this group, the steadying presence on the outside. That hasn’t been the case this year, where he lost a starting job in training camp and sub-package snaps during the season, only to have injuries to Conley and Amerson bring him in the fray.

He’s also been dealing with felony assault and battery charges in Los Angeles stemming from a July 4 incident in Pasadena.

Smith has been a lightning rod for fan criticism, a byproduct of his $9.5 million salary this year and explosive plays allowed early in the year.

If there’s an anvil weighing on his mind, teammates insist you’d never know.

“We’re human at the end of the day,” Amerson said. “You feel it, but you have to find a way to remain even keel and professional and do your job well.”

Smith will be counted on heavily Sunday against New England, especially if Amerson can’t play as expected. He has proven vulnerable to speed without help and proper disruption at the line of scrimmage, though that hasn’t been an issue lately because the Utah alum has recovered well after a rough start.

He got pulled after struggling against Vernon Davis in Washington. He didn’t play against the Chargers after giving up two huge plays to Baltimore the week before.

Amerson originally sprained his foot in Week 7 against Kansas City – he hasn’t played since – and Smith was called upon to respond. He wasn’t targeted in that game, and has been strong in coverage ever since.

Smith has allowed three catches for 12 yards in four targets over the last two games. The ninth-year veteran insists he wasn’t doing anything markedly different, and had zero interest in patting himself on the back for recent jobs well done.

“I’m not,” Smith said. “I’m out there doing my job, man, the best way I can.”

Smith says the off-field distractions during a roller-coaster season, one of his career’s most trying yet, haven’t impacted him much

“Nope. Not at all,” Smith said. “As long as I wake up a Raider, I’m all right. I’ll deal with whatever happens. I’ll always be there for my guys, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win.”

Raiders defensive backs laud Smith’s locker room presence, saying he’s an excellent teammate. Cornerbacks in general must have a short memory when things go bad, to refocus and prevent that from happening again. Smith apparently has that in spades.

“I know how things go, especially when you have a target on your back,” Amerson said. “Sometimes you get hit with the perfect pass and you give up some plays. You can’t do anything about that but take advantage of the next opportunity. Sean’s a good player, and he definitely has that mindset.”

Smith will lend experience to this big game, something the Raiders need after suffering so many injuries.

"It sucks that so many of us have gone down,” Smith said. "You want to have all your guys out there, but that’s the NFL. Injuries happen. As long as everybody comes to work and acts like a pro, we’ll be all right. We all have a job to do. We all would like to start, but you have to be ready when your number’s called.”

Raiders standing by strategy for Mexico City altitude


Raiders standing by strategy for Mexico City altitude

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders spent all week at sea level preparing to play 1-¼ miles up. They left Oakland around noon on Saturday confident that altitude won’t be an issue in Sunday’s game against New England.

Estadio Azteca sits at 7,200 feet, a comparable elevation to where the Patriots have been practicing in Colorado Springs. That has created a debate of sorts about which philosophy works best. There’s science to support staying in altitude with New England.

There’s plenty more to back head coach Jack Del Rio’s desire to get in and out of altitude as fast as possible. We won’t break down the arguments here. There are plenty of stories written about that.

We’ll simply say the Raiders believe in their approach, and have experience to support it. The Raiders best Houston in Mexico City last year in a dramatic affair that required two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

“I thought we handled our business well last year and we’ve got a similar approach this year,” Del Rio said. “We expect to go down there and play in a great atmosphere. The fans are very engaged. It’s a great atmosphere to be a part of. Just go down there and play good football.”

The Raiders have worked toward this game the past three weeks. They’ve worked on exercise bikes and treadmills using elevation machine, which matches oxygen outputs at specific elevation. Players have done that and have then been able to recover at sea level. They’ve worn popularized oxygen deprivation masks during other activities, though they’ve practiced as usual.

The Raiders know what to expect in terms of logistics, altitude and air pollution. The Raiders have prepared well for this experience, but that doesn’t mean altitude doesn’t impact finely tuned athletes.

“When you get there, you’re going to feel it,” edge rusher Khalil Mack said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s different than anything you’ve ever felt. It’s different than Denver. It was a way tougher challenge. You felt it right away. It hits you getting off the plane.”

Both teams must play in adverse conditions.

“We just have to go play,” Raiders linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “You guys aren’t going to say the altitude had an effect on the outcome. You can’t use it as an excuse. You can’t think about that. You have to train and prepare the way they’ve been having us prepare and go out there and execute.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hasn’t talked much about his strategy of staying at elevation after playing in Denver last week. Extended time away from home can be a bonding time, as the Raiders experienced a fortnight past in Sarasota, FL. He didn’t consider the time spent at Air Force Academy to be a significant advantage.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Belichick said. “The way the schedule worked out, this worked out for us. We’re here and we’re just doing the best we can to get ready for the game.”

The Raiders anticipate Estadio Azteca to feel like home away from home. Raider Nation turned out en masse last year in Houston, giving the neutral site a silver and black edge. Fans took it to the extreme at times, pointing a green laser pointer in Texans quarterback Brock Osweiller’s eyes.

The NFL will certainly be looking to quell those disruptions, especially with a marquee Patriots team in town. New England fans will be audible this time, but another pro-Raiders atmosphere is expected. That’s why Derek Carr isn’t worried about distractions from the crowd.

“No, no, no, no, no. I think that going down there is a home field advantage,” Carr said. “I’m not worried about the laser pointers. I think that’s for the other guys.”