When Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the supplemental draft, it was pretty well understood that the former Buckeye would need a lot of work before he was ready for prime time, so to speak.
Last night, Pryor took the field after starter Carson Palmer and his backup Matt Leinart had played—and looked downright terrible as a passer.
I say "as a passer" because his amazing athletic ability was still on display. More than once, Pryor took off and made something out of plays that many young quarterbacks simply would have surrendered to the opponent's pass rush.
But when the time came for young Pryor to do what quarterbacks are paid the big bucks to do—namely, look downfield and throw the football—the second-year signal-caller looked as though he was going through his first NFL practice, rather than the first preseason game of his second year in the league.
I get that Pryor is a gifted athlete and that the Raiders want to bring him along slowly, but after a year in the league—albeit without the benefit of an initial offseason or training camp—and a full offseason, one would think he would be able to display at least a rudimentary grasp of the basic building blocks of the quarterback position.
Instead, Pryor constantly misfired, fled the pocket too often without looking for his receivers, and when he did cast his eyes downfield while escaping the pocket, his throws were so far off that he made Tim Tebow look like he commands Joe Montana-like accuracy.
Look, I don't come here to bury the kid. I just wonder if he should be playing quarterback at all. I know he was Al Davis' last reclamation project—but whose project is he now? If new head coach Dennis Allen has any sense at all, he'll try to design some specialized offensive packages that can take advantage of Pryor's freakish athletic ability.
I liked that Pryor at least took ownership of his performance after the game, telling the San Francisco Chronicle:
I’m angry at myself. I thought everybody else on the team played great. I just think I played like dog crap. So I’m mad about that, about how I played. … I will be better on Friday.
It would be pretty impossible for him not to be.