Home > College Football, Div-I FBS, Draft, NFL > Drew Rosenhaus’ Belief that Terrelle Pryor Will be a 1st Round Pick Isn’t Crazy

Drew Rosenhaus’ Belief that Terrelle Pryor Will be a 1st Round Pick Isn’t Crazy

Two weeks ago, I evaluated a Big Ten quarterback who didn’t get taken in the first five rounds despite college passing statistics that looked pretty good overall, and particularly so in his era.  Yesterday, former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor signed with superagent Drew Rosenhaus, and will prepare for the NFL supplemental draft.  Most draft analysts have ripped Pryor’s NFL candidacy based on limitations that have showed up on film with regards to making certain throws that a NFL passer needs to have in his arsenal.

Taken at it’s most basic level, such scouting conclusions are valuable.  Pryor cannot be reasonably expected to succeed if he is thrown into a pro huddle on labor day weekend and told to run stuff he never did at Ohio State.  He’s going to be terrible of that’s what he’s being asked to do.  The tape bears this out.

But the numbers suggest that a team that adjusts similarly to how Ohio State adapted Terrelle Pryor’s skill set into their pro style system will get a very effective pocket passer.  If pro offense means the same thing to you that it means to me, that means that Pryor’s first couple of seasons, he should be utilized exclusively off of the run action and play action, selling a believable play action game, and using the intermediate and deep fields to attack.  Use of his athleticism should be reserved for trying to convert third downs through any means necessary.

If that sounds like a system quarterback who doesn’t deserved to be drafted with the elite, transcendental prospects such as Matt Ryan who can play in year one, then that’s exactly what I’m asserting.  No player taken in the top ten picks of the NFL draft to play the QB position, maybe not even Michael Vick, was as raw and unfinished a quarterback as Terrelle Pryor looks like.  A recent assertion by Rosenhaus that he expects Pryor to be picked in the first round seems preposterous on its face.

Except perhaps you weren’t paying attention to the NFL Draft from 2008 through 2011, when the first round became the round of the unpolished product.  From Joe Flacco to Mark Sanchez to Tim Tebow to Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, and high second rounder Andy Dalton, there really isn’t such a thing as a traditional prospect anymore.  And Pryor fits in this mold of non-traditional passing NFL hopefuls.  He actually fits better than most.

Terrelle Pryor completed 62% of his college passes, which is really good when you figure his pro-gun offense and where that number was likely to be had he played his senior season.  Three years as the starter at Ohio State is nothing to spit on, leading a very successful program, and achieving plenty of personal success.  The differences between Pryor at Ohio State and some other *also* highly rated HS recruit at QB such as Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame is hardly any difference at all.  It may just be the coaching, because that 28-4 TD/INT rate sported by Clausen (the only meaningful difference between the Pryor and Clausen stats in three years) looks a lot like numbers put up by Matt Cassel of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010.

The problem with game film evaluations is that you get to see very little of what a player is not asked to do by his college offense, and saying that the player cannot make such plays is not a proper evaluation.  Pryor is getting dinged in scouting circles for bad decisions at critical moments in games, and perhaps rightfully so, because a lot of Pryor’s INTs have been of the unforced variety.  Concerns that he flushes the pocket before he has to are also legitimate.  He’s a lot like Blaine Gabbert in that sense.  Gabbert also went in the first round.  There are plenty of reasons to not like Terrelle Pryor’s opportunity for success in the pros, if your goal is to doubt Pryor’s ability to succeed in the pros.

For organizations that have the goal of winning football games, a more important task re: Pryor is to evaluate the man who helped create the mess that Ohio State is currently trying to keep from crushing the pride of the Buckeye program.  A first round pick at quarterback is almost NEVER saddled with the kind of off-field questions that surround Pryor and his inner circle right now.  The only thing scarier than a high-risk early round draft pick, is a high-risk early round pick when the organization cannot accurately assess the true level of risk.  Pryor is a major gamble, and it’s safe to say that teams aren’t going to gamble first or second round picks on him.

That doesn’t mean that Rosenhaus is off his rocker though in trying to market his client.  He may have just picked up a risk in taking on a client like Pryor, but that also gives the young quarterback a bit of legitimacy that a guy like Rosenhaus would represent him.  And while Rosenhaus’ rhetoric may not directly reflect the reality of the situation, he’s right that if there wasn’t a flaming landfill nearby — with Pryor’s steps easily traceable from it — that Pryor makes about as much sense in the first round as many of the guys who are actually picked there every year.  Who has more NFL type ability, 8th overall pick Jake Locker (a great kid), or supplemental draft prospect Pryor?  The college production suggests that it’s not close.  You always take Pryor and give yourself a fighting chance.

Ultimately, Pryor wasn’t going to get picked in the first round of the NFL Supplemental Draft.  Because it’s the Supplemental Draft.  It isn’t the amateur draft.  The demand for quarterbacks isn’t quite what it was before the draft, because a whole class of QBs just got drafted.  Pryor would have been well off throwing his hat into the ring earlier and trying to impress his way up to first round level then.  But that ship has sailed, and if Pryor’s playing the hand he’s been dealt, and that hand involves Rosenhaus’ support, then chances are that Pryor is going a lot higher than anyone is expecting.

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  1. January 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    It’s great to read somhietng that’s both enjoyable and provides pragmatisdc solutions.

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