COLUMBUS, Ohio - Analysts say he’s a middle round pick. Needs years to develop. Can’t read defenses. Too much baggage.
His agent begs to differ.
“Are you kidding me? Middle round, for this guy?”
Much the way Terrelle Pryor’s career ended at Ohio State, his future as a professional quarterback is shrouded in uncertainty—leaving many to guess where he will get selected in the NFL’s upcoming supplemental draft.
If physical tools were the only assessment, Pryor would certainly be a first round pick. With “TP,” however, it’s not that simple. It never has been with him.
Physically, Pryor is a coach’s dream and an opponent’s nightmare. At 6 feet 6 inches and 235 pounds, with speed to run 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Pryor has the genetic makeup to play several positions in the NFL.
But he wants to be a quarterback, and questions remain about his passing accuracy, ability to break down defenses, and comfort as a pocket passer. He also brings along a big personality and the remnants of his role in the Ohio State mess, which led to the resignation of coach Jim Tressel and NCAA sanctions.
Pryor’s focus, and the task of new super-agent Drew Rosenhaus, is to convince teams that he has the ability to play quarterback at the next level and prove that his transgressions at Ohio State were nothing more than a young star making a few poor decisions.
“He is responsible for the mistakes that he’s made,” Rosenhaus said during Monday’s press conference. “But the past is now the past for him, and we have to move ahead.”
Even without the character questions, doubts exist about Pryor’s abilities on the field. Pryor has a flare for the spectacular but can struggle with the routine plays, and his passing accuracy remains a concern.
“The two most important areas for an NFL quarterback,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said, “are football intelligence and accuracy, and Pryor is below-average in both areas.”
McShay said teams should only draft Pryor if he is willing to move to a wide receiver or H-back position, and projected him as a fourth round pick at best. (If a team makes a selection in the supplemental draft, then they give up a pick in that round of next year’s actual draft).
Pryor does have allies, arguing that he has a long future in the NFL.
One of the most respected is former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, who watched Pryor work out earlier this year during an event where he spoke to Ohio State team. After the workout, the Columbus Dispatch asked Gruden if he thinks Pryor could play quarterback in the NFL.
“Yeah, I do. I really do," Gruden told the paper. “I think this guy can develop his passing the more you pass the ball. And I think the guy is a unique, rare talent.”
Few have argued that Pryor has a rare set of skills, which showed during his three years at Ohio State, where he collected a 31-4 record as the starting quarterback. He shined on the biggest stages, winning the MVP awards in two BCS Bowl victories and was one of the most dynamic duel-threat quarterbacks in school history.
Pryor has a game-changing ability that few players possess, and is at his best when a play breaks down, forcing him to improvise. With those enormous physical gifts and the chance to become a star, NFL teams are left to wonder if Pryor is another Michael Vick or JaMarcus Russell.
And even for a guy with tremendous potential, is the risk worth the reward?
A key point in considering Pryor’s eventual destination is that he only needs to convince one team that he is worth a high-value pick. Just like Tim Tebow shocked draft analysts when the Denver Broncos selected him in the first round of the 2009 draft, Pryor could surprise people if he convinces the right person to a take a chance.
“I am a firm believer after 25 years of experience, that Terrelle Pryor will be a great—not a good quarterback—a great quarterback in the National Football League,” Rosenhaus said. “He is going to be a star.”
Regardless of where he ends up, this much is certain: Pryor and his 6-foot-6, 235-pound frame don’t come without a fine print. He will bring unique physical tools and an even more dynamic personality—a combination that has potential to change a team and a franchise for years to come.
Just ask Jim Tressel.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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