2011 NFL Supplemental Draft: 5 Reasons Terrelle Pryor Can Succeed in the NFL
Though the excitement of NFL preseason continues this weekend with a plethora of games to watch, the headline story still seems to be former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor, who has been declared eligible for Monday's NFL supplemental draft.
Though Roger Goodell declared Pryor eligible for the draft, the commissioner also ruled that the QB would be suspended for the first five weeks of the NFL regular season. Until that point, should he be drafted, Pryor can sign with the club that drafts him and fully participate in the remainder of the NFL preseason.
This ruling reportedly comes from the NFL's belief that Pryor "made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft."
Though his agent Drew Rosenhaus declared to the Associated Press that Pryor would "accept that (punishment) voluntarily," there have since been rumors of an appeal of his suspension with the league.
Regardless of if Pryor appeals or not, it looks like he will end up in an NFL uniform in 2011. With all of this media attention, it's hard to imagine the prospect ending up a complete bust as a pro.
NFL analysts may agree or disagree about Pryor's NFL potential, but Terrelle has many qualities that could help his case for a career as a professional football player.
Here are five reasons why Terrelle Pryor can absolutely succeed in the NFL.
Though Pryor is entering the NFL in an unconventional way, no one can argue that his collegiate statistics are insufficient for an NFL prospect.
In three years with Ohio State, Pryor threw for 6,177 yards, 57 passing touchdowns and 26 interceptions. Along with those statistics, Pryor also added 2,164 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Among his career stats, his junior season was by far his most productive. In 2010, Pryor threw 210 completions from 323 attempts for a completion percentage of 65, along with 2,772 yards and 27 touchdowns. Pryor also kept his turnover ratio low with only 11 interceptions for a ratio of 2.45:1 TD/INT.
For reference, Heisman trophy winner and 2011 NFL Draft top choice Cam Newton threw for 2908 yards and 30 TDs with 7 interceptions and a completion percentage of 65.4 in 2010.
If you compare the two players, Pryor is very close to the Auburn product statistically. Pryor had nearly the same completion percentage and only three fewer touchdowns. In my mind, that doesn't necessarily guarantee NFL success, but it certainly would have put him in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft had he declared only a few months earlier.
To put in perspective with an established pro, in Aaron Rodgers' final season at Cal he threw for 2,566 yards and 24 touchdowns with 8 interceptions for a completion percentage of 66.1. Rodgers, who is sometimes known for tucking and running with the ball in the red-zone or to pick up the first, also ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns in 2004.
In his final season with Ohio State, Pryor outperformed Aaron Rodgers in almost every statistical category for a QB. Given that Rodgers is widely considered one of the best QBs in the NFL right now, Pryor could be ready for some serious NFL success based on his collegiate statistics.
Perhaps Pryor's best attribute is his athleticism.
He weighs in at 232 lbs with a 6'5" frame. At that, Adam Schefter reports, at his pro-day, Pryor ran a 4.41 forty-yard-dash—pretty fast for a guy who is two inches taller than Andre Johnson.
Pryor has always been praised for his athleticism. In fact, he was the highest sought-after college prospect of 2008, and Sports Illustrated called his signing with Ohio State "the most anticipated college signing in history."
Pryor is so athletic that, throughout high school, he was a two-sport athlete also participating in basketball. In addition to being such a celebrated football prospect, Pryor was also a top basketball prospect, but instead chose to focus solely on football.
Some of the NFL's most successful players were celebrated two-sport athletes. For example, Hall of Famers Deon Sanders and Bo Jackson both player professional baseball in addition to playing in the NFL. Current examples of dual sport athletes would include TE Antonio Gates, who was an excellent college basketball player, and QB Donovan McNabb, who played college basketball at Syracuse. Both men have at some point been considered at the top of their respective positions in the NFL.
The fact that Pryor was a top basketball prospect in addition to football speaks volumes to his athleticism. Though he never played basketball in college, it is still intriguing to think about his athletic ability in a different medium.
Basketball aside, Pryor's athleticism will probably end up playing a major role in his NFL career, but, if not, it certainly can't hurt him. It certainly is one of his highest up-sides as an NFL prospect.
Awards and Honors
Where would NFL prospects be without collegiate awards and honors? While a highly decorated college player isn't always destined for NFL success, awards will always help get attention and higher consideration from NFL teams.
Terrell Pryor is very decorated.
Even from high school, when he was one of the most celebrated college prospects, Pryor was an award magnet.
In 2007, Pryor won the Hall trophy for the US Army Player of the Year. He was also voted the PARADE Magazine National Player of the Year and an All-American as a junior.
In 2008, he was voted a US Army All-American and won the Pete Dawkins Trophy for the US Army All-America Bowl MVP.
By the time he reached Ohio State, he continued to rake in the awards and honors.
In all three years at Ohio State, Pryor was given All-Big 10 honorable mentions and was a runner up for conference MVP in 2010.
Pryor was also awarded the Tostidos Fiesta Bowl Sportsmanship Award in 2009, Rose Bowl MVP in 2010, and the 2011 Miller-Digby Award for being the Sugar Bowl MVP.
Given that he was given honors in three major BCS bowl games, I think it's safe to say that Pryor plays well in big games.
Pryor's numerous awards and honors are another of his highest attributes going into the NFL.
It is widely known, at this point, that Terrelle Pryor doesn't like to be told no.
In an age of college football dominated by the controversy of players receiving improper benefits (see USC, Miami), Pryor was no exception to looking for compensation for his autographs (among other things).
Though most may see this as a general disregard for rules and boundaries, one could instead view this as a man standing up for his beliefs in the face of institutional adversity and oppression at the hands of the NCAA.
Ok, maybe that was a stretch, but even after he was declared ineligible to play for Ohio State any longer, Pryor has done everything in his power to keep playing football.
Some may say that Pryor's method of entrance to the NFL is an insult to the hard work of his predecessors and the standard system set forth by the league.
I don't see it that way. I see a man that has made some mistakes and wants so desperately to silence the nay-sayers that he will do whatever it takes to make it as an NFL player.
Looking at it from that perspective, you'd have to admire Pryor's resiliency.
Pryor fought to become eligible for the supplemental draft. Once the NFL finally gave in to Pryor's wishes, it was reported that he may appeal the quite-suitable punishment set forth for him. Though this may seem annoying to some, I see it as a guy that just wants to play—something not every NFL player has shown an extreme desire for (see Randy Moss).
Despite the rumors of Pryor's appeal, it was reported that he would accept his punishment and even showed the willingness to play another position. That willingness only furthers my opinion of a guy that just wants to play.
If you ask me, Pryor's resiliency will make him a very successful pro. He will fight to earn everything. He will fight for a roster spot, fight for a starting job, and possibly fight to make his team a contender.
NFL Need for QBs
Going into the 2011 NFL Draft, there were many teams in need of a quarterback. Even though 5 QBs were taken in the first round alone, several teams left the draft without the player they needed.
Even some of the teams that drafted a QB still need to find a viable option. After seeing what talent (or lack thereof) they have on their rosters, teams may still need to satiate their need for a starting QB. That being said, Pryor could come as a very good, very cheap option to try.
ProFootballTalk reported that there was a big turnout for Pryor's workout day on Saturday. Reportedly, the teams in attendance included the Steelers, Redskins, Saints, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Chargers, Browns, Lions, Colts, Eagles, Raiders, Dolphins, Bengals, Bills, Chiefs, 49ers and Patriots. This attention from nearly half the league just exemplifies the intrigue surrounding the prospect.
Among those teams, ESPN's Adam Schefter ranks the Bills, Dolphins, Colts, Raiders and Bengals as the teams most likely to select Pryor in the supplemental draft on Monday.
Should Pryor be targeted as a potential starting QB, his suspension could serve as a perfect learning curve, considering he missed training camps and half the preseason.
Hypothetically, if one of the teams Schefter mentioned drafts Pryor and their current QB doesn't live up to their expectations, Pryor could end up in a position to start after week 5.
In my opinion, that situation could be ideal for both that team and for Pryor. Not only would it give the team's current starter sufficient time to prove whether or not they can be a viable option, but it would give Pryor essential time to learn the play-book and learn what is expected of a starter in the NFL.
Though it isn't the ideal situation for grooming a QB, it would be ideal for a team in desperate need of a QB and ideal for Pryor who desperately needs a team to take a chance on him.
These are the five reasons why Terrelle Pryor could absolutely have success in the NFL.
I hope you have enjoyed reading.
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