Terrelle Pryor's Preseason Performance Proves He Should Back Up Russell Wilson

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2014

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 15: Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the San Diego Chargers at CenturyLink Field on August 15, 2014 in Seattle,Wa. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Terrelle Pryor's path to the NFL and subsequent years in the pros have been nothing short of wild, but the former Ohio State star seems to have finally found his home in Seattle.

Three years with the Oakland Raiders proved very little about the athletic quarterback, outside of the fact that he is a dual-threat option under center in need of polish by the right staff in a nurturing environment—not one where a fanbase expects him to carry the weight of a franchise on his shoulders as a starter.

Hence why Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks front office sent a seventh-round pick to Oakland in exchange for Pryor back in April. Since then, Pryor has improved and carved a niche for himself on a depth chart that touts three names behind starter Russell Wilson.

In the Seahawks' preseason Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos, he actually led the team in passing with a 9-of-16 effort for 137 yards and an interception. He happened to lead the team in rushing as well, with seven carries for 28 yards.

Fast forward to Week 2, when Pryor attempted just four passes but did carry the ball three times for 59 yards and a score, which came from 44 yards out. Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times put it best:

Nobody would suggest that Pryor has turned the corner as a passer, but his explosive dual-threat capabilities are what a franchise would want behind a starter. This is especially the case in Seattle, where the offense is tailored around a quarterback with great pocket mobility.

Really, the effort from Pryor has been there all offseason, as play-caller Darrell Bevell told Condotta back in June:

He’s working really, really hard to get it. There are a lot of good things that are happening out here. Sometimes just being able to spit the play out in the huddle can be a challenge and that hasn’t been a problem for him. He’s been able to rip right through it. He’s picking up the offense really well. Out here, he’s executing pretty well for us.

So the snowball of momentum that Pryor gained simply by coming aboard the Seahawks ship is slowly morphing into an avalanche. It is easy to gloss over the fact that he is only 25 years old and there is still plenty of development for him to undergo.

For Seattle, the decision is rather easy if it only keeps two quarterbacks next season. The backup must come equipped with enough skill to win games should the unfortunate occur and Wilson goes down, but he must also have some potential for the future to at least give the team some value in future trade talks and the like.

Really, what do Carroll and Co. have to gain by keeping around 31-year-old Tarvaris Jackson? Sure, he has the experience in the offense, but he has only attempted 13 passes since 2011. And B.J. Daniels is a camp body at best.

Pryor, on the other hand, can continue to learn the offense and develop as a passer, which will in turn allow him to orchestrate the offense with some semblance of variety should he ever need to take the field.

Even in Oakland a season ago, Pryor was at least respectable despite the lack of talent around him. He appeared in 11 games and completed 57.4 percent of his passes on the way to 1,798 passing yards and seven touchdowns versus 11 interceptions. He added another 576 yards and two scores on the ground with a per-carry average of 6.9 yards.

Now toss that into Seattle's offense. Pryor can hit players such as Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin on short screens and the like and watch them do the rest. He can hand the rock to names such as Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael and Robert Turbin or fake it and take off on his own.

Aug 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The point is, Pryor's athleticism and budding overall game mesh even better with the offense in Seattle. He is a younger, more effective Jackson who, by most accounts, seems hungry to do nothing short of improve.

It was easy to write off Pryor when he joined the Seahawks, but his steady development and versatile performance this preseason have thrust him back into the minds of those who matter.

Really, his acquisition for cheap was yet another cost-effective move by one of the NFL's best organizations that may pay off in leaps and bounds, perhaps as soon as next season if Wilson gets hurt.

We now know Pryor is not a starter, but he does nothing short of strengthen a roster that just won a championship in quite a critical area.


Note: Preseason stats courtesy of NFL.com.


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