Terrelle Pryor's name has seemingly been in the news a ton lately, mainly because of the negativity surrounding he and the Ohio State football program. Pryor places much of the blame for former head coach Jim Tressel's departure on himself, and rightfully so. Tressel treats his players like his own sons, and it appears as though he got carried away, and it resulted in him resigning.
Now, it's not like Terrelle Pryor was out punching other kids at night clubs, and it's not like he was robbing the local 7-11, so let's not bury this kid before he even sets foot in an NFL facility. He's a kid, and he made mistakes. We can't give him a pass because he's young, because that's not really an excuse. He violated NCAA and school rules--knowingly--and it wasn't reported by his head coach, who was also in the know.
When Tressel moved on, so did Pryor. He forfeited his senior season as a Buckeye and has begun the process for applying for the supplemental draft, and he did so by hiring the most prominent agent not named Jerry McGuire: Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus' newest client doesn't know what his NFL future holds, or even if the NFL will hold a supplemental draft (which could come near the same time a CBA is reached, theoretically around July 15th).
But is Pryor a fit with the Denver Broncos? Is he really that big of a sideshow that the Broncos' PR department couldn't handle it? Let's examine this situation realistically for the Broncos, and whether or not it is a good idea for them to pursue the former Ohio State star.
Let me qualify this all by saying that I am a much bigger fan of Terrelle Pryor's game than most NFL Draft "experts" seem to be. I put that word in quotations because I feel like these guys think they can determine a kid's future before it happens, and the more bold and negative the predictions get, the more frustrated I get.
Let's make one other thing very, very clear: RIGHT NOW, Terrelle Pryor is not a starting quarterback prospect for the NFL. He's just not. He lacks prototypical footwork, and while he has a strong arm, the accuracy is sporadic and he doesn't always throw a tight spiral. At this moment in time, Pryor is a project at the very least, and he is very, very raw.
That being said, that doesn't mean he can't grow into a great NFL quarterback if he is willing to put in the time. What so many NFL Draft analysts do nowadays is they evaluate a prospect based on what he can give a team year one, not three years down the road, not with good coaching and a good system. When guys like Todd McShay look at Terrelle Pryor, they think that he is so athletic and so gifted physically that he might as well try his luck at the wide receiver position.
Can you tell me the last time a 6'6" 240 pound kid made a successful transition to tight end from the quarterback position? Matt Jones doesn't count.
Maybe at his very best, Terrelle Pryor will only be Matt Jones, but that doesn't mean he can't pursue his dream of being a quarterback just because of what other people say. Here's my scouting report on Pryor, whom I ranked as the fourth best quarterback in the class of 2012 before he left Ohio State:
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.
If I am the GM of any team in the NFL, much less the Broncos, I am taking at least a fifth or sixth round flier on this guy. There is no way I'm going to sit back and let some other team get him for a bargain price when I feel like my coaching staff is competent enough to develop an immensely skilled player over the course of 2-4 years. There is simply just no way. I don't care what attention or pressure he brings from the media--this is the National Football League and winning sells, nothing else. If you feel like this guy gives you a chance to win ball games down the road, you stash him away.
Buy low, sell high.
The Broncos have a pretty solid QB situation with Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Brady Quinn. There's nothing wrong with that trio of guys, and as a result, it seems very unlikely that Denver will go after another high profile quarterback with one of their draft picks, even if it is a later round pick.
Still, if I'm Brian Xanders, John Elway, and John Fox, there is no way I'm passing on this opportunity. Terrelle Pryor is one of the most talented players I've seen in college football. He has an innate ability to move the chains and put points on the board, but most importantly, he knows how to keep his team near the top of the "wins" column in the standings. He's been a winner wherever he goes, and winning is infectious. I don't think he's a bad kid, I simply think he made bad decisions, and those decisions are behind him.
Use a low pick in the supplemental draft and see if you can't develop something here. There is minimal risk, and should someone choose to use a third or fourth rounder on him, so be it!
If I were in charge, this would be a no-brainer--I'm using a fifth or sixth on the supplemental draft to get Pryor, and I hope I get lucky. The upside is too great down the road if he is developed correctly, and he comes at a pretty discounted price. Draft him to play QUARTERBACK, and develop him the right way. This is a 6'6" 240 pound dude who says he runs in the high 4.3's, low 4.4's. He has a strong arm that needs to be tamed, and he has always been a consistent winner.
Should the Broncos take a chance on Pryor? I say yes.