With Terrelle Pryor sitting out practice on Wednesday with a sprained right knee, the first-team reps for the Oakland Raiders went to undrafted free agent rookie Matt McGloin, who would get the call for his first NFL start against the Houston Texans on Sunday if Pryor is unable to go.
So who is Matt McGloin?
He’s a guy who just keeps defying the odds. A former walk-on at Penn State, McGloin went on to start at quarterback for the Nittany Lions for parts of three seasons, including putting together a senior season in which he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,271 yards and 24 touchdowns against just five interceptions.
For his career in Happy Valley, McGloin threw for 6,390 yards and 46 scores against just 19 picks. He threw for four touchdowns in a game three different times—as a sophomore in a win over Northwestern and twice as a senior, in wins over Navy and Indiana.
He left Penn State as their career leader in touchdown passes and holding single-season marks for completions (270 as a senior), touchdown passes and passing yards.
He wasn’t heavily recruited out of West Scranton (Pa.) High School and he wasn’t actively sought after out of college by the NFL, either.
He washed out of tryouts with the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins before landing a spot in training camp with the Raiders, but he was the fourth of four quarterbacks on the roster.
Oakland had brought in Matt Flynn in a trade from the Seattle Seahawks and he went into camp projected as the starter. Pryor was supposed to be the backup and there was also fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas ahead of McGloin on the depth chart.
McGloin performed so well, however, that Wilson was cut and signed to the Raiders practice squad.
That wasn’t the only quarterback surprise in camp, of course, as Pryor beat out Flynn for the starting job. McGloin came into the season as the third-stringer.
That is until Flynn was cut after starting in a 24-14 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sept. 29.
That bumped McGloin up to No. 2 on the depth chart and he made his NFL debut against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 49-20 loss on Nov. 3, completing 7-of-15 passes for 87 yards.
It wasn’t a debut that will have the guys with the bronze in Canton getting ready to prepare a bust for McGloin. But for a guy who epitomizes making the most of an opportunity, it’s just another step in a career made of exceeding expectations.