There’s been a lot of talk on sports radio today about JaMarcus Russell, the #1 pick of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders who got released this off-season, getting busted for codeine syrup possession in his home over the weekend, and how all that talent is going to waste. Going to waste? Clearly the NFL “Experts” have not been doing their job the last three years, kinda like Russell.
I’m not sure how it slipped through the cracks, but Russell had only one truly positive attribute as a quarterback: he could throw the ball a country mile. I argued back in 2007 that he probably shouldn’t even be a first rounder, let alone the top pick, because he couldn’t read defenses (no “throw over it is not a read”) and made his living at LSU by throwing the ball deep to WRs who had already run five yards past the nearest defender. In a league that is defined by precision passing, that kind of approach just wasn’t going to cut it. For every burner at WR, there’s one at DB who can keep up with him.
And let’s not forget the lackadaisical attitude that he played with. There was never any fire displayed in his time as a bayou Tiger, nor any semblance of leadership. Instead, he was satisfied with his ability to throw over defenses and expected that to work in the pros.
So Al Davis, who couldn’t pick out talent if you lined up the two Pro Bowl rosters in front of him, went ahead and took him anyway. So, now on a young team with limited talent and no leadership in the locker room or on the sidelines, JaMarcus was able to “unleash the beast” by holding out and begin his strict workout regimen of gaining 50 lbs a season. Once he finally signed for ridiculous money a week into the season, he was given the opportunity to plague the team over the next 2+ seasons.
And the bottom line? You get a guy with a career QB rating of 65.2, completed just 52.1% of his passes, and managed to throw for less than 100 yards in 11 of the 30 games in which he played.
And now he’s drunk away any second chance he may have gotten by guzzling a homemade feel-good potion, which some suspect he’s been doing his entire career. And sportscasters are talking about a “waste of talent”? I’ve always thought the writing was on the wall with Russell sincehis college days, and as bad as he’s been, a “waste of time” is probably more appropriate.