Just because he's going to Oakalnd doesn't mean Terrelle Pryor is screwed.
With the 18th pick in the third round of Monday’s supplemental draft, the Raiders landed the disgruntled former Ohio State Buckeye (thereby surrendering their third-round pick in the 2012 draft).
With the school year beginning for students across the country, it is time to hand out grades for Pryor’s prospects heading into the NFL:
This is an easy one. Anytime you have a 6'5" QB who runs a 4.3 40-yard dash, it catches your attention. His long strides make him look like a gazelle on the field; his elusiveness and ability to avoid the sack while gaining positive yardage is his greatest skill going forward in the NFL.
By no coincidence, Raiders owner Al Davis has been blowing high draft picks for the past decade on players who simply have great speed with incredible bodies.
Congrats Al, you now have the fastest QB in the NFL.
While Pryor isn’t dealing with the sort of elementary level mechanical issues that Tim Tebow is currently struggling with, he still has a ways to go.
Scouts at his pro day noted an improved release and better footwork—something that came as a pleasant surprise. Clearly he’s been working his weaknesses which is a positive sign.
Still, his release is still slower than average—while his accuracy suffers when sped up. It’s still not a natural throwing motion and a substantial overhaul will need to take place for him to experience NFL success.
This is the area that needs the most work.
Pryor may have thrown an entire BCS powerhouse program under the bus, but it’s hard to deny the impact agent Drew Rosenhaus has had on him.
Every interview in the past month has sounded passionate, apologetic and mature.
So what if Rosenhaus prepped him? Pryor has endured the humbling of the century and is grateful just to be in the league. It’s like he went through a near-death experience and is just happy to be breathing.
Sure Oakland isn’t the best place for a guy with a troubled past, but this isn’t JaMarcus Russell. Pryor is now willing to play any position on the field, is simply looking to make the team, and hasn’t already signed a monster contract with gobs of guaranteed cash like Russell did.
Pryor has a huge chip on his shoulder and must prove the world wrong. If that’s not enough to completely overhaul his attitude…he will be gone in the blink of an eye.
Immediate Impact: C
He’s suspended for the first five games of the season, so the term “immediate” will be considered mid-October.
The potential for Pryor to see action within the first three to four weeks of being active is real only because of his competition.
Jason Campbell is in the last year of his contract and entering his second season as the starter in Oakland. He experienced an up-and-down inaugural season by the bay and is by no means completely locked in at the starting spot.
Then again, his backups are Trent Edwards and Kyle Boller…maybe he’s secure after all.
If the Raiders are already juggling QBs by Week 5, that means the season is heading nowhere quickly.
Most teams would be crazy to start Pryor while he’s still getting adjusted to the new throwing motion and system in Oakland, but desperate times may lead to at least some playing time in 2011.
When it’s all said and done I expect Pryor to have at least five games under his belt heading into 2012.
Long-term Potential: A
This category is the only one that really matters and all the question marks on Pryor are between the helmet.
Can the freak athlete check his ego at the door and adjust his mechanics and style of play to fit the NFL mold? Can he stay out of trouble in the Bay Area where so many others have failed? Can he handle the rigors of being a professional QB?
With the tremendous talent he possesses, Pryor can be a winner. He wasn’t the No. 1-rated player coming out of high school for nothing. Pryor is more than capable of being a franchise QB and throwing the ball 30 to 40 times a game.
He has the physical tools and the opportunity...now it’s up to Pryor to see how determined, desperate and disciplined he is in wanting to be a success story—not the punchline to the question “do you remember that one guy?”