Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Thoughts on Terrelle Pryor

Glad To Be Back

So it’s good to be writing again because there’s really nothing interesting or exciting to explain why I haven’t been writing. Basically I drew up all the question for the offseason questions and then I graduated and they took my laptop (from which I rescued all of my precious work) and then I embarked on what has essentially been a solid month of nothing but weight room and grad parties. Moral of the story: Writing is easy but finding the time and drive to finish an article after 3-4 hours of working out and the fact that Spongebob (or the sponge themed cartoon of your choice) is on for 3 straight hours is difficult. But now I’m back so let’s delve into what happened while I was gone.

Pryor Going Pro

Terrelle Pryor, former QB of The Ohio State University, has declared for the Supplemental draft scheduled to be held whenever the hell the league feels like it. What has followed and preceded Pryor’s abrupt declaration has triggered a tidal wave of thoughts, comments and people learning that there is actually something called the Supplemental draft. You see the Supplemental draft is rarely a place to find an awe inspiring athlete like Pryor and typically the success rate on Supplemental picks is pretty low. So what’s Pryor got going for him since he was forced to flee Ohio State due to NCAA probes regarding off field issues including free tattoos and cars?

The Pros: Pryor is a remarkable talent, plain and simple. Pryor stands 6’6” with a fluid running style that once prompted a journalist to say “He doesn’t so much run as he glides over the field”. Pryor runs a 4.5 and with his tall stature has attracted interest as a receiver at the next level. Why not QB, the position he has played for years at the high school and college level? Well that brings us to Pryor’s drawbacks.

The Cons: Pryor is not the most accomplished of passers, he owns a quirky throwing motion that all too often drives balls into the turf and his arm strength isn’t top of the line either. Pryor’s main strength is improvising on the run, his gliding run allowing him to buy time to spy an open receiver and chuck the ball in his general direction. But the NFL game for QB’s is different than the one that Pryor experienced in college. In the NFL quarterback’s whose main asset is their legs don’t win championships (Michael Vick prior to 2010, Vince Young), quarterback’s whose mechanics and arm strength allow them to rely on those two things have (Manning, Brady, Brees). Note that these top of the line QB’s, main stays in any conversation about the best in the game, are not at all noted for their rushing abilities but for their pocket presence.

My Opinion: Pryor doesn’t seem to have the intangibles to play QB at a high level in the NFL. At the end of the day Pryor is an athlete who plays quarterback, not the other way around and playing him at QB seems like a risk most teams shouldn’t take. However Pryor’s potential as a receiver intrigues me, he’s got the height, speed and hands to be a great red zone target. The league really can’t seem to get enough of tall targets so Pryor has great potential there that I would say is worth looking into for most teams in the Round 4-5 range.

Teams of Interest:

Rams (Receiver): The Rams have their quarterback of the future in the phenomenal Sam Bradford, the Rams are also in possession of a rare opportunity, the NFC West is weak, very weak. The starting QB situation is not settled with any one of their rivals. The Rams have an opportunity for dominance of their division and a guaranteed home game if they can put a lot of room between themselves and the rest of the NFC Worst. A big step in the right direction would be to snag Bradford a blue chip target.

Pryor could be the answer to Bradford and his OC Josh McDaniels’ prayers. McDaniels however much of an epic fail he may have been as a head coach has proven how dangerous his system can be with one unreal target and a great QB. You want proof? You remember the year the Patriots almost went undefeated, broke several passing records between Tom Brady and Randy Moss? That had a ton to do with McDaniels’ system. Some might argue that Brady’s precision and Moss’ freakish abilities would have made it a productive season regardless but McDaniels has also done stunning work between Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd.

Browns (Receiver): I’m getting on my soap box for this one, some people think this is a good pick for the Browns as a QB based pick. I disagree with this on quite a few different levels: historical, statistical and just plain common sense. Also I’m a huge Texas fan and McCoy was awesome back in college.

McCoy showed a lot of potential as a rookie and he did so in the very worst of circumstances. Don’t believe me? Ok let’s play a little game of “Hypothetical matchups” if you were a rookie quarterback which defense would you start against? If you answered Pittsburgh then New Orleans then New England followed by the New York Jets, congratulations you are a braver man than I. Was this me just listing off random teams? Nope those were McCoy’s starts to begin his career. Sound like fun? No, no it does not. McCoy was supposed to be holding a clipboard through each and every single one of those games and yet he led and actually beat the Saints and Patriots in back to back games before losing in overtime to the Jets who were at that time on hot streak behind Mark Sanchez and an inexplicable string of awe inspiring late game heroics. Pretty damn impressive for a short guy. A knock that’s been had on McCoy is his lack of arm strength and how he won’t be able to handle the strong Cleveland winds and this was the cause of his many interceptions in the final weeks of the season. Because it couldn’t have possibly had something to do with the fact that McCoy was going against two of the scariest defenses in the league. It also couldn’t have had something to do with Eric Mangini’s constrictive play calling and general ineptitude at anything. But also Pryor’s arm strength isn’t great and he’d have the exact same criticism leveled against him. Pryor’s real advantage over McCoy is his scrambling prowess (an area McCoy is actually solid in) but Pryor’s scrambling is just unnecessary within the personnel that Cleveland has. Cleveland has one of the best offensive lines in the league anchored by Joe Thomas who in my opinion is the best left tackle in the league. The pocket is there and there’s really no need for him to scramble.

That was the statistical and common sense (Or at least part of it) so on to the historical which I’ve been looking forward to. In 1989 the Dallas Cowboys selected Troy Aikman of UCLA with the first overall pick in the draft, later that same year at the behest of coach Jimmy Johnson the Cowboys drafted Steve Walsh of Miami with their first pick in the supplemental draft. Both Aikman and Walsh played QB and for the next couple of years both had to spend their time looking over their shoulder for the other and it didn’t allow for the Cowboys to settle on a QB. Granted Johnson was engaged in blatant favoritism to many of his former players (Johnson coached at Miami) but the Walsh pick was the worst. In my opinion the Browns selecting Pryor is similar in that the heir apparent, McCoy now has to worry about being usurped from his starting spot for reason that are not entirely within his control.

To wrap up, Pryor can be of tremendous value to the Browns as a receiver as right now McCoy has few people to throw to the most recognizable of which is Mohammed Massaquoi. No offense intended but the majority of people only know of Massaquoi as “That receiver they show getting decked by James Harrison whenever ESPN wants to talk about violent hits.” While the addition of Greg Little shows promise McCoy certainly won’t complain about another tall receiver.

Bears (Receiver): Like I said the league likes tall receivers and Pryor could make a wonderful target for a team in search of a clear cut No.1, granted it would take Pryor time to adjust to some of the ins and outs of his new position but his potential can’t really be ignored. I’d expand more on this but I’ve covered the topic at length in my earlier article about the Bears and by now this article is way longer than I intended.

Redskins (QB) (Receiver): Things are a mess over in DC, take that statement as you will but in this case the Redskins are in need of, well pretty much everything. If they could find a scouting report saying that Pryor is capable of playing guard, center and QB all at the same time then the Skins are in business. Pryor’s athleticism will be definite draw to a team that is about to start a winless QB and who’s offensive line almost necessitates that the QB be ready to take off for his life. Meanwhile Pryor’s potential as a wideout adds a playmaker to a team with two good tight ends and one legit receiver.

Bills (QB) (Receiver): And so we come to the last of the teams of interest, the Bills seem content with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback but he can’t last forever and the Bills are going to need a franchise QB if they would ever like to see anything besides the basement of the AFC East. Is Pryor their guy? It’s possible, Chan Gailey’s offense favors the mobile which lead to draft day speculation that Newton would not make it past the Bills. The Bills need some excitement in their game and Pryor needs a team. Pryor could also provide another playmaking option opposite the rising star of Stevie Johnson.s

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