What is Terrelle Pryor?
Well, he is 6'4", 220+ lbs, agile, has a strong arm, and has the kind of speed that several NFL running backs are surely envious of. There is no question that he is the kind of athlete that you don't often see at Quarterback, but there he is. A highly touted dual-threat QB coming into college, he has been a lightning rod at Ohio State. He didn't lead them to a national title, but they were very good, and they did get over their SEC bugaboo this past season as he completed 65% of his passes.
But, can he play Quarterback in the NFL where he won't be able to automatically run away from everyone on the field? Sure, he's still faster at top-speed, but getting there before you they catch you is the problem. There are some that harp on him never having to go through a progression, and running at the first chance. There are some that harp on his off-the-field troubles and say that he is just another guy doesn't get it and never will. Finally, there are some that harp on him going to the Raiders, which have been the poster-children for franchise instability the past few years.
All of these are legitimate concerns, especially with the recent history that we have seen in other players. So, I will address them in order.
1. He has never played in a system which required him to go through progressions, but rather if his first or second read wasn't there he would just take off running. This is true, but that is kind of the point of a dual-threat QB. Their arm is not their only weapon, and this is the king of athlete who can run at the NFL level, so assuming that to be a flaw is well....flawed. Now, he will need to learn to work the progression tree to be a star because when it comes down to it, you don't survive long taking the kind of hits that defenders dream of handing out to scrambling QB's, and you have to spread the ball around to keep the defense honest. That said, if Vick can learn to do it, so can Pryor. The upside to a player like him is that he can be a functioning NFL QB while he learns to use the tree because he can make positive yards in other ways. Look at Vick, McNabb, Young (Steve, not Vince), Elway. These were all athletic QB's who learned to play at the NFL level after getting by on talent. It's never a guarantee, as there are far more failures than successes at QB in the NFL, but this is no an automatic disqualifier.
2. His off the field issues were him getting a sweetheart deal on leased cars and selling memorabilia to pay for tattoos right? This is not Reggie Bush getting a mansion, or Leinart getting a penthouse suite. This is minor stuff, that outside of the NCAA rules, is not even illegal. I have ZERO issues with the jerseys for tattoos issue. Nothing more to see here, please move on. For god's sake, the schools used to hand out tickets to players to do with as they saw fit. That included SELLING them.
3. To my mind, the RAIDERS are the real potential issue. His new coach Hue Jackson is touted as a QB Guru, and that is exactly what Pryor is going to need. That, and a veteran to learn from for at least this year and next. Jason Campbell might just be that guy, if he can solidify the spot this year. However, if they keep switching coaches yearly, Pryor is going to get caught up in the wash.
But enough negativity and argument. Let's end on a fun thought. If this works out, we could have Terrelle Pryor playing aginst Tim 'Praise the Lord' Tebow twice a year. 2 QB's who have no business in the NFL, changing the commonly held conceptions about how you play ball in the NFL.
Now, THAT would be fun.
P.S. Damn you haters, now you have me rooting for them both.