NFL Free Agency: How Vince Young's Market Is Impacted by Terrelle Pryor
Vince Young's chances of signing with an NFL team took a hit last week when Terrelle Pryor decided to enter the NFL.
His split with the Tennessee Titans all but guaranteed, Young was going to be this year's Michael Vick as a risky pickup with huge upside.
Now, Pryor is the more attractive comeback candidate. He will begin his career under the shadow of the Jim Tressel firing and the memorabilia scandal and will have to work extra hard to gain the favor of NFL franchises.
But so does Young, and Pryor's got a head start.
Here are five ways in which Terrelle Pryor supplants Vince Young as the most appealing risk/reward quarterback option on the market.
Similar Style of Play
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Both Young and Pryor are athletic quarterbacks who defy conventional wisdom on their way to making big plays.
They also make some sloppy mistakes in the process.
There won't be very many teams that are a good fit for either of these guys. Most teams want a pure pocket passer as a quarterback, one that has a strong arm, progresses through reads and gets the ball out of his hand in three seconds.
It would take a coach who is willing to work with an unpolished signal caller for even one of the two to get a look.
And now there are two of them to look at.
The fact that two quarterbacks occupy a similar niche does not bode well for either player, especially since the niche is not particularly appealing in the current age.
As the incumbent mechanics-challenged quarterback, Young cannot be happy that Pryor could potentially sign with a team that would have signed him.
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Young made a name for himself in the NFL by winning games whatever way he can.
In 2006, his rookie year, Young posted a 66.7 passer rating, a 52.1 completion percentage and 12 touchdowns to 13 interceptions in his 13 starts. Yet the Titans went 8-5.
Three years later, Young took over the struggling Titans after an 0-6 start and led the team to a .500 finish. He went 8-2, but notched an 88.2 QB rating.
Young simply finds ways to win, even if he doesn't look pretty doing it.
Pryor operates in a very similar fashion. ESPN analyst Todd McShay notes that even though he is one of Ohio State's most decorated quarterbacks, Pryor's "footwork and mechanics are often sloppy," something he may have gotten away with in college but will not in the NFL.
Despite his questionable mechanics, Pryor led Ohio State to three bowl games in his three years as a starter. Ohio State won two of the three, and Pryor was named the game MVP both times.
Pryor knows how to win and has shown up when it counts. He may not have played in possibly the best Rose Bowl of all time (USC vs Texas, 2006), but he goes toe-to-toe with Young in terms of clutch QB performances.
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Normally a veteran is given the edge over a young player because the veteran's experience makes a transition to a new system easier.
Once again contrary to the norm, Young has hardly changed since coming to the NFL. His footwork and inconsistent accuracy have not changed in five years, making him as enigmatic as when he first came into the league.
NFL teams know what they get with Young. Significant change in mechanics is possible, but not something to bet the house on.
In comparison, the former Buckeye is a bit of an unknown.
Pryor's inexperience in the league could tempt a coach to pick him up, thinking that the athletic quarterback is just a few adjustments away from being an elite NFL passer.
More importantly, Pryor is new. Young has been around—he's 28 already. He's perceived as damaged goods. Pryor might play similarly, but he is ultimately a different player.
Pryor has his own legacy to create, and will do so starting on a clean slate, something Young cannot do.
Less Serious off-the-Field Issues
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Compare the gravity of these two stories:
1. A player was caught receiving improper benefits from his university. He was also involved in selling autographed memorabilia for a profit—a clear violation of the NCAA code of conduct.
2. After a confrontation on the sidelines with his head coach, a player simply disappears from his home. The police get involved in what becomes a full-fledged search party. Upon recovery of the missing quarterback, reports surface that said player had been affected by serious bouts of depression and soon thereafter is linked to an attempted suicide. The team's owner was eventually forced to announce the quarterback is not welcome back on the roster in 2011.
Yeah, Pryor broke some rules at Ohio State, but let's put this all in perspective: He didn't kill anybody, commit any crimes, or break any federal laws.
You can't even really claim that Pryor's altercations imply underlying impudence, since the entire Ohio State football program was on board.
Pryor basically just had a little incident at school and got his wrists slapped.
If teams shy away from him, imagine what they'll do to Young.
Young's set of personal problems make Pryor's appear benign in comparison. He has a whole host of issues that could very conceivably negatively affect his performance on the field.
Pryor has a lot less serious baggage than Young, which makes him less of a risk than the former Texas standout.
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Vince Young presents a myriad of incredibly unappealing character flaws.
His maturity, work-ethic and leadership skills have been in question for his entire career, and he has done little recently to dissuade the league of its notions.
Young admitted that part of the motivation behind his 2008 disappearance was the boos from Titans fans really bothered him. He didn't know how to react because it was something he'd never experienced before.
Tack on lack of resilience and perseverance.
Not that Pryor is the model character himself, but at least he isn't the muddled mess that Young is.
Pryor gives teams the façade of a hard-working, dedicated quarterback. He already impressed other NFL players with his presence and work-ethic at "Camp Rosenhaus," and will surely cultivate his image as a focused quarterback in the coming weeks.
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In the end, neither Vince Young nor Terrelle Pryor are particularly appealing quarterback options.
Either could be taken on as a project or be signed by a struggling team looking for a spark.
Football would benefit from both of these players playing more frequently. Their athletic abilities add a dynamism at the quarterback position that is currently lacking from the NFL.
All they need is one team to take a chance.