Terrelle Pryor’s raw NFL potential has long been a hot topic. Since he decided to jump the sinking ship that is Ohio State and enter the NFL supplemental draft, Pryor speculation has extended beyond the pocket, with many calling for Pryor to be brought into the NFL as a receiver.
Either way, the Oakland Raiders are not the team that are going to lead to Pryor’s success.
As a quarterback, Pryor has many things to learn before he can successfully be an NFL player. His footwork is sloppy, his accuracy is poor, and his in-game decisions are suspect.
As it stands, his mentors in Oakland look to be Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, and Trent Edwards. None of the three have a career completion percentage higher than 61 percent and two (Edwards and Boller) have thrown more interceptions that touchdowns throughout their career.
While experience can fill volumes, these three quarterbacks’ NFL experience has been uninspiring to say the least. Pryor may learn a thing or two from them but would have fared better starting his career behind a more proven passer on many of the 16 other teams that attended Pryor’s “Pro Day” on Saturday.
Could you imagine him being brought up behind the likes of Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers or Tony Romo? Or under Andy Reid with his penchant for producing quality QBs? Ben Roethlisberger would have been an able teacher as well, and even Matt Cassel, Tom Brady’s former apprentice, would have more wisdom to impart than any of Oakland’s three QBs.
Pryor’s growth would also be aided by having a top-tier receiver to target.
Jimmy Clausen and Cam Newton are reliant on the talents of Steve Smith. Christian Ponder will benefit from the presence of Percy Harvin. Sam Bradford has an army of talented targets.
In Oakland, Pryor would eventually have second-year player Jacoby Ford—once his broken hand has healed— and third year player Darrius Heyward-Bay. Both are up-and-coming starters but don’t have the experience yet to train a young, unripe QB.
What if the Raiders decide to move Pryor to wide receiver?
Since Pryor was unable to escape the five-game suspension he would have served at OSU in his move to the NFL, Pryor wouldn’t be a viable option to fill in for Ford during his recovery.
Once Pryor is eligible to play, the transition still wouldn’t happen overnight. It’ll take longer, even, without a veteran example or a quality passer.
Of course, life isn’t all bad for Pryor. He could possibly benefit as a returner on special teams. His natural athleticism and superhuman speed (his 40 time is 4.36) would shine in such a role while he spent time mastering the Raiders’ playbook and learning the nuances of a new position.
That would also allow the Raiders to reserve the talents of Ford for use on more downs.
Plus, Pryor will be getting paid something along the lines of $2.36 million over the next four years with a $591,000 signing bonus to watch game tape in California for the first five weeks of the season.