Terrelle Pryor: Miami Dolphins Should Steer Clear of Controversial Quarterback

Luke TaylorCorrespondent IIJune 10, 2011

Is Terrelle Pryor an option for Miami?
Is Terrelle Pryor an option for Miami?Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Terrelle Pryor to the Miami Dolphins? On the surface, things look pretty perfect.

Miami needs a quarterback. Pryor needs a team. Miami doesn’t want to pay much for said quarterback. Pryor would cost very little. Miami likes the idea of a quarterback with speed, agility and a strong arm. Pryor has all three.

On paper, things look great, and Pryor fills the Dolphins’ most glaring need. The deal would be nothing like a holy matrimony, though, however perfect it appears. This could be the marriage from hell.

Pryor is likely to enter the supplemental draft (if it takes place) after leaving Ohio State due to his involvement in a breach of NCAA rules, which saw Pryor and five teammates suspended for accepting improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlour and the resignation of his coach for turning a blind eye to the goings-on.

His availability could even be as a free agent, but regardless of how Pryor tries to enter the NFL, he will come at a very nominal price.

This is good value for a player who is clearly an extremely promising college football player: no draft picks and no big salary. Furthermore, if Miami wants him, it has a very good chance of getting him; it won’t be as difficult as getting hold of a quarterback in the NFL draft itself.

According to Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland has already stated that Miami will be doing its due diligence on a player from Ohio State, and it does not require much thinking before you realise that Pryor is the player in question.

Pryor wants to play in the NFL. His agent claims he has spurned the advances of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders already. He isn’t interested in the UFL either; the NFL is his dream.

What’s more, having left college, he is no longer governed by NCAA rules, so any further punishment should not affect Pryor in the NFL. 

So with Pryor likely free to play in the NFL, how would he fit in Miami?

Everybody knows that the Dolphins are looking for a quarterback (or two) to challenge Chad Henne. They plan on bringing in a veteran, but if Tyler Thigpen becomes unhappy with his role and wishes to leave, then Miami will have a spot on the roster to replace him.

There is no doubt that Pryor is a developmental quarterback, but his attributes and physical qualities are intriguing.

Standing 6'6" tall and weighing 235 pounds, the former Buckeye has incredible size. Even more enticing to teams is his speed: Pryor’s projected 40-yard dash time is 4.42 seconds—a speed that would be considered excellent for a running back, let alone a signal caller.

Having come to Ohio State as the most acclaimed high school quarterback prospect in America, he had a 19-3 record as starter with a 57-26 touchdown-interception ratio throughout his college career. Pryor got things done on the field.

As a true freshman he racked up 1,311 yards, throwing 12 TDs and four picks. In his second season he threw for over 2,000 yards with 18 TDs and 11 picks, although his quarterback rating dropped. His 2010/11 season was his finest to date, though. He threw for 2,772 yards with 11 picks and 27 touchdowns and a 65 percent completion rate; his quarterback rating soared to 157.9.

On the ground he had 17 career touchdowns, rushing for 631, 779 and 754 yards respectively in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. He even had two receiving touchdowns.

Pryor was inconsistent at times but at one point was being mentioned as a possible first-round draft pick. Having played under center at times in an offense with pro-style routes, Pryor could transition to the NFL more easily than most. His strong arm lets him make the big throws, and he is good carrying the ball.

All these qualities would appeal to Miami’s front office, but while some argue he is raw and has plenty of untapped potential, others take a different view.

ESPN’s Todd McShay believes Pryor is more of a wide receiver than a quarterback and questioned his decision-making, reads, mechanics, accuracy and comfort levels in the pocket. Similarly, draft guru Mel Kiper argued that he isn’t a quarterback either; he sees Pryor as a tight end.

Pryor’s athletic ability was not in doubt, but being a quarterback is much more than that in the NFL. If he has trouble with his reads, and standing in the pocket, then he will really struggle in the NFL; his decision-making issues only amplify the problem.

Add to that his problems with accuracy, inconsistency and decision-making, and Pryor starts to look like easy pickings for NFL defenders. Even in a draft class, Pryor would likely be a third-day selection at best. Some scouts are even claiming that Pryor will never be better than a practice squad player despite his athleticism.

Whether or not these assessments are correct, one thing is clear: Pryor is very raw. Miami needs to win now, and he cannot contribute in that fashion, making him a very unlikely target for the 'Phins.

If the on-field issues weren’t prevalent enough, then Pryor’s past issues are almost certainly sufficient to turn most teams off.

While the questions about his ability were similar to those raised when Tim Tebow left Florida for the NFL, nobody questioned Tebow's character. With Pryor, it is a different story.

One NFL GM told Yahoo.com that if you compared Pryor’s reliability and trust levels with Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett (both of whom were severely questioned on character grounds before the Draft), then the former Buckeye “is dead last. Like not-even-out-of-the-starting-gate last. And it’s probably only going to get worse.”

That’s pretty damning by all accounts. Considering the Dolphins passed on Mallett three times in the draft, it’s pretty safe to say Pryor has a lot of work on his hands to even stand a chance of playing in aqua and orange.

However, it’s no surprise that people have reached this conclusion about Pryor, as the quarterback has been no stranger to controversy during his time at Ohio State.

Pryor wore an eye-black patch with the word “Vick” in 2009 after Michael Vick was involved in a dogfighting ring for which he went to prison. Pryor attracted further criticism when he defended himself by saying, “Not everybody’s the perfect person...Everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.”

He also made petulant comments on Twitter about former Ohio State player Kirk Herbstreit after he questioned Pryor’s sideline behaviour, calling Herbstreit “a fake Buckeye.” After Ohio State lost to Wisconsin, Pryor again acted with immaturity, claiming they would beat the Badgers “nine times out of 10.”

However, the latest scandal is on a different level to his past problems and has really tarnished his name.

Pryor and four teammates traded signed memorabilia for tattoos, and Pryor was alleged to have signed autographs for money, violating NCAA rules. A friend of Pryor claimed he made $20,000 to $40,000 by doing so, including signing mini-helmets or football gear for a businessman for $500 to $1,000 a time.

Although the businessman denies this, the media has found evidence that the businessman sold Pryor-autographed material on eBay, and there are reports that cheques he sent to Pryor were discovered.

It is alleged that Pryor made expensive purchases with the money, and the businessman was used by Pryor to sell signed equipment as a way of making the quarterback money. Obviously, these are violations of the NCAA rules, but Pryor’s actions when responding to questions about the scandal were hardly what teams want to hear.

When asked how he took so much gear from the university’s equipment room, Pryor replied, “I get whatever I want.”

In addition, there were questions that Pryor was given cars by a dealership to drive that were considerably out of his price range. Again, the NCAA investigated the claims, and in the middle of the inspection, Pryor drove a sports car to practice. This also happened to be on the day that his coach Jim Tressel resigned due to the scandal.

Teams have every right to question his attitude and character; instead of regretting his actions, it is as if Pryor is proud of his indiscretions. Pryor showed no remorse, no regret and no shame, despite the fact his actions contributed to his coach losing his job and his college facing severe reprimands for the scandal.

One NFL coach who spoke to CBS said, “The more you read about this guy with the cars, tattoos and money and all that other stuff...this kid sounds like he didn’t give a damn about anybody. He was just there for himself. He didn’t even try to hide it. He flaunted it. If you’re like that, it’s hard to be a quarterback.”

If the issues surrounding his ability to play quarterback were not enough, then Pryor will really struggle to break into the NFL as a result of his character concerns. These are issues that are on a different chart to those problems that Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton experienced; in addition, he is not close to their level in terms of talent.

The issues are no minor problems either; expect the punishment handed out to Ohio State to be harsh. Pryor has not even had a legitimate paycheck yet; having behaved in the manner he has already, you have to question how much worse things could be once he is paid.

Jeff Ireland may have said the Dolphins will investigate the possibility of signing Pryor, but their history screams otherwise.

Miami rarely takes a chance on players with character concerns, not least a player with so many character concerns. Pryor does not fit the Dolphins’ mold of player; Ryan Mallett will tell you that Pryor’s chances of ending up a Dolphin are very slim indeed.

The Miami Dolphins should show no interest in Pryor, and it would be foolish to anticipate that they will. When all of his past experiences at Ohio State, both on and off the field, are taken into account, it becomes glaringly obvious that Terrelle Pryor is not what this franchise needs.


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