In the 1968 draft, the Raiders drafted two quarterbacks: Tennessee A&I quarterback Eldridge Dickey and Alabama’s Ken Stabler. Dickey, the first black quarterback to be taken in the first round ever, was an exceptional athlete who dreamed of making history as the first black QB in the NFL.
The reasons behind Al Davis’ decision to draft Dickey are unclear. According to some, he was indulging his maverick’s reputation. Others say that he must have been impressed with the speed and athleticism of the ambidextrous quarterback. There were also rumors that Al simply wanted to keep Dickey away from Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Hank Stram. Asked how he felt about drafting Dickey, a black player who hoped to become the first “Negro QB” in either pro league, Al Davis responded in a typical Al fashion: “I don’t care if he’s polka-dot.”
Upon arrival, Dickey was told that for the time being he was to play as WR, but if he wanted, he could also practice with the QBs in training camp. In camp and pre-season, Dickey outperformed Stabler; nevertheless, the Raiders decided that he should play permanently as WR, not QB.