Raiders could stage QB competition

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Is the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback Week 1 of the 2013 season on the current roster?

If head coach Dennis Allen knows, he isn't sharing the answer.

While Allen continues to back Carson Palmer, the support isn't as steadfast as it has been in the past.

"We'll see," Allen said when asked if another quarterback will be brought into the mix to compete for the starting job. "If there are things we can do to create competition, whatever position it is, we're going to try to do that."

The Raiders will add at least one quarterback through free agency or the draft. The only other one on the current roster is Terrelle Pryor.

"I thought in the final game of the season, I thought he showed some things, not just from an athletic standpoint, but from a control standpoint, from a leadership standpoint on the field that was something for us to build on going forward," said Allen. "I'm looking forward to watching him. I'm looking forward to watching Carson. I'm looking forward to get out there with all our players.

The Raiders own the third overall pick in April's draft, but currently don't have another selection until No. 66 overall in the third round courtesy of the second-round pick they sent to the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the Palmer deal. They also don't have a fourth-round pick, which was sent to the Seattle Seahawks for linebacker Aaron Curry.

Allen's staff coached at the Senior Bowl, and he was asked if Oakland will look to engineer a trade to acquire more mid-round selections to potentially select players that impressed him in Mobile, Ala., last month.

"I think, really, when you look at the draft, obviously everybody wants to have as many draft picks as you can possibly have," he said. "So it's a delicate balance of making sure you want to ... you want to accumulate draft picks if you can, but at the same time you want to make sure you identify the guys you really want and make sure you get the guys you really want."

One of the top areas of need is clearly at cornerback. With Michael Huff returning to safety, the Raiders are razor thin at the position. Allen appreciates the sacrifice Huff made to move to cornerback when injuries ravaged Oakland's secondary last season.

"To be able to do what he did this year speaks volumes about him. It's a very unselfish move to move to a position, quite honestly, you're on an island and everybody's watching you," said Allen. "I thought as the season went on, he got better playing that position. I think at the end of the day, his natural fit is at safety but I think he'll do anything we need him to do to give us a chance to be successful."

Changes could also be coming up front on defense. With Richard Seymour unlikely to return to the Raiders and the futures of Tommy Kelly and pending free agent Desmond Bryant uncertain, Oakland needs to address the interior. Lamarr Houston is one of the building blocks on defense, and is a candidate to slide inside to the "three-technique" position.

"I think that's certainly a possibility. I think if you saw him there, you'll see more in sub-down situations, nickel situations," said Allen. "But we'll look at, once we get through the free-agency period and once we get through the draft period, we'll have a better feel for exactly who we have on our football team and then it's our job as coaches to put them in the best positions to have success."
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