Terrelle Pryor’s NFL Prospects–Former Ohio State Star Can Succeed in NFL


Terrelle Pryor is a 6’6″ 230 pound quarterback who has a phenomenal ability to make plays. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, and he can really launch the ball. However, there are many questioning whether or not Pryor can succeed at the NFL level, particularly as a quarterback, and there are people who are saying he should look to switch to receiver or…tight end?

Sometimes, the people who analyze the game that we all know and love make me laugh, but sometimes they just flat out make me shake my head. Here are my notes on Pryor:

“Another of the five Buckeyes who are suspended for the first five games of 2011. Pryor is the complete package at the quarterback position, and those who say he’s not one of the top senior quarterbacks in the country are just flat out wrong. Those who say he is best fit as a tight end or h-back in the NFL? There’s a word for those types of people–dumb. Pryor has one of the strongest arms in the country, and not only that, he improved almost EVERY facet of his passing game. He increased his completion percentage from 56.6 almost 10 percent to 65 percent on the season. He went from 18:11 touchdown to interception ratio to 27:11, a ratio that went from roughly 2:1 to 3:1. Despite only 28 more pass attempts in 2010 as he had in 2009, he threw for almost 700 more yards, going from 2,094 yards in 2009 to 2,772 yards in 2010. Pryor also had fewer sacks (19) than any other season in his collegiate career despite a career high in attempts, and the fact that he makes plays out of the pocket. Oh, and by the way, not only did Pryor significantly improve his passing numbers and efficiency as a junior, he also is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the country. Over the last three seasons, he has run for 754, 779, and 631 yards to go along with 17 touchdowns. Pryor has fantastic arm strength and the ability to keep plays alive, and I see no reason why if Cam Newton was the top overall pick in the draft that Pryor can’t be as well. He is as good as Newton is, perhaps even better. Unlike Newton, though, Pryor has been required to take snaps under center, and doesn’t run a spread offense like Newton does. Ohio State is a pro style program, and Pryor knows how to move the chains. He is a clutch player and a winner, who has two BCS Bowl victories to his name. If not for this foolish suspension, he would easily be one of the top Heisman candidates in the entire nation. If he can continue to improve his accuracy and decision making, he will be a great NFL quarterback, so long as he keeps his head on straight.”

As you can very well see, I believe in Terrelle Pryor the player. Pryor the person?  That’s a different story entirely. Let me just say that I believe 100 percent that Pryor could have been a top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft had he cleaned up his image this past year at Ohio State and gotten on the good graces of fans, coaches, media, etc. However, with Pryor, it’s going to be a long road to NFL success with the route he has chosen.

There has not been a viable NFL quarterback selected in the supplemental draft since Bernie Kosar back in the 80’s. There have barely been any viable players selected in the supplemental draft in the history of the NFL at ANY position, much less the most important position on the field.

Still, Pryor is different than many/most players who enter the supplemental draft process. He is a phenomenal athlete with loads of potential, but he has to get his personal life in order. At Ohio State, Pryor was a superstar before he even walked on campus. When he simply chose the Buckeyes over the Michigan Wolverines, he was essentially the crowned prince of Buckeyes football. Anything Pryor wanted, he got, and it went way overboard. That is a testament to his personal character, and he is going to need to rebuild his image as he heads to the NFL.

If and when he is selected in the supplemental draft, it will be as a quarterback, not as a tight end. The mere notion that Pryor could or would even try to play tight end is just stupid. He’s got so many things you cannot coach at the quarterback position, and try to name me the last successful 6’6″ college quarterback to transition to the tight end position.

That’s what I thought.

In fact, name me more than four former college QB’s at a major BCS school like Ohio State who won multiple BCS bowl games that successfully attempted a position change in the NFL.

The point is, Pryor’s NFL career will live or die by his ability to adapt to the quarterback position at the next level, and that is going to be a process. He compares very favorably to Vince Young and Cam Newton, and not just because he is black. He is coming from a very simplified offense with elite physical tools, off-field/character concerns, and a howitzer for an arm. He has poor mechanics, but he has shown a distinct ability to move the chains at a major university where all he did was win huge games (2 time BCS bowl game MVP; Rose, Sugar).

Pryor is going to need to get in a similar situation that Ryan Mallett did with the New England Patriots. He is going to need to go to a team with stability at the head coach position, and some type of stability already at the quarterback position. He is going to need to go to a team like Pittsburgh, near his home town of Jeannette, PA.

It would likely cost the Steelers the maximum of a third round pick, in my opinion, to bring Pryor in via the Supplemental draft. They experimented with Dennis Dixon, who has become a decent backup, but getting Pryor would still be a significant upgrade there.

I don’t foresee Ben Roethlisberger giving up his starting job for a few years, so the Steelers allow Pryor to develop and play in spot duty. As he shows signs of progress on the field, they can either re-evaluate their quarterback situation in four years or so with Roethlisberger, or they can deal Pryor to the highest bidder as, in this ideal world, he will have grown up at that point.

Pryor is an elite level athlete who simply needs to grow up. If or when he does, he can be a successful NFL player, and not only that, but he can succeed at the QUARTERBACK position. His accuracy has come into question of late, but he significantly improved that area of his game this past year, and he knows how to do two things better than a lot of college players with NFL prospects do:

Move the chains, and put points on the board. Not only that, but he knows how to win ball games. he went from throwing 18 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions to 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. This is a guy who you want to have the ball in his hands, and I think he can make it happen in the NFL. It’s just a matter of time and what team he goes to.