Is he the hardest-working guy on the team?
Do his teammates rally around him?
Does he have that “it” factor?
Is he clean off the field?
Will he win football games for you on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with his hard work and preparation?
All these questions that have to be asked when evaluating a quarterback prospect for the next level. And when I ask myself each of the questions concerning Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the answer for each in my mind is “No.” Therefore, no matter how talented an athlete Pryor is, in my view he doesn’t meet the prerequisites needed for being a successful quarterback in the NFL.
However, that doesn’t mean this freak athlete can’t find a home elsewhere and be successful in the NFL. At 6-6, 235 pounds, Pryor is a really gifted athlete for his size with the ball in his hands. His combination of size, strength and explosion allow him to routinely break tackles with a devastating stiff arm and create after contact. He’s a strider who possesses sneaky straight-line speed that seems to consistently outpace defenders’ angles and also displays enough short-area quickness to create in tight areas as well.
He’s also a very natural and coordinated athlete who was a stud basketball player in high school and in my mind certainly possesses the skill set to mature into a capable NFL receiver.
Think back to his freshman bowl game vs. Texas when he effortlessly fought off a safety on a fade pattern in the end zone and then cleanly high pointed the football and snatched the throw like he has been doing it his entire life. Football/athletics just come naturally to him and I would expect him to develop rather quickly at any new position.
Obviously, he would need some work and would take some development. But, if I’m drafting Pryor, I want to gamble on him with his physical/athletic capabilities as a wideout and not with his mental make-up as a quarterback.
Watching Pryor on tape he looks like an athlete who runs in the high 4.4/low 4.5 range and at his size there are certainly some intriguing tools to work with. He’s a better overall athlete coming out of college than Matt Jones, who had character concerns as well and still went in round one as a projection player.
In all honestly, what’s the difference between Pryor and say a coordinated size/speed wide receiver prospect from a small school who’s going to need a year or two in order to contribute? Say a guy like Vincent Jackson when he came into the league? Not much in my mind. And I think if you give Pryor a year or two to develop as a wide receiver in the NFL, long term he will find a way to get on the field and make plays for an NFL offense both vertically in jump ball situations and working the three-step game as well. At his size, the guy doesn’t even need to be open in order to adjust go make a play on the football, and wideout prospects that can are always in high demand.
Overall, would I draft the guy as a quarterback prospect?
However, if he’s willing to make the move to wide receiver — and that is the million dollar question — I would certainly be willing to take a flyer on the guy in the 3rd/4th round range. He’s a better athlete than just about any other prospect that would go at that point in next year’s draft. Plus, he has a ton of upside and despite not being a real high character guy, there have been plenty of successful wideouts in the NFL that aren’t angels off the field. It’s part of the territory at the position and I definitely think it’s Pryor’s best chance to be successful in the NFL."
Arm Strength: Other than his natural athleticism and agility, Pryor's arm strength is his biggest asset. He has the arm strength to complete passes all over the field. But Pryor's arm strength also takes a hit because of his footwork issues. When Pryor is off balance while delivering a pass, the ball tends to hang in the air and flutter.
Field Vision: played in an offense that allowed him to freelance too much. Because of that, Pryor's field vision is underdeveloped. He'll need a lot of time working in the film room with a good quarterback coach.
Mechanics: Although Ohio State frequently used pro-style formations, Pryor has serious footwork issues. He's fine when dropping back from under center, which is a big plus. It's when he gets into his set where Pryor gets in trouble. When in the pocket, Pryor shuffles his feet and seems anxious. He possesses a good enough throwing motion with a nice release point. He'll never be confused with Matt Stafford in how fast he gets the ball out, but it's not a detriment.
Pocket Awareness: Pryor remains a severe work in progress in his ability to sense the rush and intelligently adapt to it. Pryor typically made two reads, but sometimes only one. When his first read or two weren't there, Pryor pulled the ball down and ran.
Final Word: A lightning rod of a prospect, Pryor's pro position remains in question even after three years at quarterback. His numbers improved markedly in 2010, but some his top games were against Ohio, Eastern Michigan and Indiana. The measuring stick for Pryor should be former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a second-round pick this year. Both are big, angular signal callers with strong arms, athleticism and questionable mechanics. The biggest difference between the two seems to be character and work ethic. By all accounts, Pryor lacks both and has thus far gotten by on his immense natural ability.
On the field, as a passer, Pryor has sometimes questionable decision making and is too quick to leave the pocket. Pryor's best fit in the NFL may be split outside at wide receiver. He's shown enough shiftiness and agility to be a natural conversion. The trouble is, no one knows if he can catch a ball. Regardless of what position Pryor plays in the NFL, he's going to be a project both as a player and a person."
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."
He’s a terrific athlete with an NFL arm. He makes plays with his legs if nothing is available through the air. He powers the ball into targets or easily drives passes downfield. Pryor also loses nothing throwing on the move. Yet Pryor is more athlete than quarterback to this point, more thrower than passer. His mechanics are inconsistent, his field vision is less than adequate and Pryor’s pass placement is poor. Pryor offers better physical skills when compared to Tim Tebow yet at the same time has a fraction of the intangibles and leadership ability of the former Gator."
Negatives: Would like to see him put a little more velocity on his deep throws... All over the place with his passes, doesn't lead his receivers properly and makes his receivers work for catches... Has improved each year he's been at Ohio State as a passer and should continue to get better with NFL coaching... Throws with a low three-quarters release... Inconsistent footwork, will look like a textbook drop-back passer one play and the next he'll look really sloppy, throws off-balance and on the run too often when under pressure, needs to learn to step into the pressure and deliver accurate passes... Not a great game manager, executes the game plan but when things aren't working, doesn't look to change things up and figure out a solution... Current offense is tailored for his success at the collegiate level rather than NFL success, takes most of his snaps out of the shotgun... Has a reputation as being a little immature."
Cons: Pryor still struggles to read defenses, find the open receivers, and connect with them even when he makes the right decision. He has thrown three touchdowns with no interceptions in the Buckeyes’ last two games, but he also failed to complete half of his passes against both New Mexico State and Penn State. Pryor is still a long way from being a pro passer, but has two years of eligibility remaining after this season to make some progress.
Skinny: When he arrived at Ohio State, Terrelle Pryor brought with him the reputation as a can’t-miss prospect—he’s 6’ 6”, 235 pounds and runs like the wind. He is physically gifted, but his development at quarterback hasn’t been as smooth of a ride as anticipated. Pryor is getting opportunities to air it out—averaging 22.4 pass attempts per game—but those chances have yielded inconsistent results. His completion percentage is down from 60.6 percent as a freshman to 54 percent this season and while his touchdowns are up from 12 to 15, so are his interceptions from four to nine."