After his five-game suspension from Ohio State for receiving impermissible benefits, eventual departure from the school, and entry into the supplemental draft, quarterback Terrelle Pryor was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the supplemental draft. Pryor will serve a five-game suspension handed down by the NFL as a condition of his entry into this year's draft — the same number of games he would have missed at Ohio State.
Per the terms of the suspension, Pryor could play in the preseason, though he can only visit the team's facility during the suspension; he can't practice and he will not be placed on the Raiders' active roster until Week 6.
Per the NFL's rules, the Raiders will forfeit their third-round pick in 2012 because of where they selected Pryor. According to John Clayton of ESPN.com, Pryor is likely to receive a four-year, $2.36 million deal that includes $591,000 to sign. The suspension will cost him $100,294 of his $375,000 salary.
The selection process, which takes place annually if there are players involved that year, is a way for players ineligible for whatever reason for the April draft to enter the NFL in their first year of eligibility. Other players taken in the supplemental draft through the years who have succeeded to varying degrees in the NFL include quarterbacks Bernie Kosar and Dave Brown, receiver Cris Carter, receiver Rob Moore, and nose tackle Jamal Williams(notes). But there's a linebacker Brian Bosworth, or quarterbacks Timm Rosenbach and Steve Walsh, for every supplemental draft pick who climbs the ladder.
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In that way, it's very much like the regular NFL draft. For every hit, there's at least one bust. Pryor was the only player taken in this year's supplemental draft.
For Pryor, the success chances are more complex. He's a terrific athlete — he ran a 4.41-40 yard dash at his pro day last week, and at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, there's been some talk about making him into a bigger receiver or receiving tight end. Pryor has said that he'll play wherever he's needed from a positional standpoint, which may save his NFL career.
As a pure quarterback, there's a lot of work to be done. Even as the NFL has met the spread offense halfway in the last few years, the offense that Pryor ran at Ohio State wasn't complex enough to give any sort of headstart at the NFL level. And even mobile option-style NFL quarterbacks like Michael Vick(notes), Vince Young(notes), Cam Newton, and Tim Tebow(notes) either have to assimilate elements of those offenses if they are ever to succeed at the highest level.
[Photos: See more of Terrelle Pryor]
Through three seasons, Pryor completed 477 passes in 783 attempts (a 60.9 completion percentage) for 6,177 yards, 57 touchdowns with 26 interceptions. He also rushed 436 times for 2,164 yards (a 5.0 per carry average) and 17 touchdowns.
Pryor often benefited from defenses adjusting to the run. He threw deep to a lot of zone-busting receivers at Ohio State, but there isn't enough evidence of his ability to consistently throw into tight windows. He also throws off balance a lot when he's moving, which leads to passes that could be intercepted..
He has decent arm strength, though the fact that it isn't spectacular in a Can Newton sense could be a problem over time. Pryor is still working on the touch required for a standard NFL system; most throws are either on a rope or floating too long with an exaggerated "touch" concept to make up for the real touch he doesn't have yet. His short passes tend to flutter, and his setup for such passes is still exaggerated.
Unlike some spread offense quarterbacks, he only has a little hitch in his throwing motion -- it's not a major impediment. Other mechanics are a major issue. He rolls a lot to his left and requires too much time to set his feet when he stops to throw. He tends to need to stop and plant; the motion to set and throw doesn't look and feel natural just yet. Pryor will stand flat-footed when throwing instead of using a more natural through-motion. He's pretty indiscriminate when it comes to throwing off his back foot, especially when he's on the run, and many of the resulting throws won't make the cut in the NFL — even the intermediate passes tend to flutter and wobble.
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Where Pryor may struggle the most is that he is a single-read passer for the most part; he is clearly set to predetermine a fairly simple set of route concepts and take off if whatever's out there isn't to his liking. That just isn't good enough for the NFL, which requires quarterbacks to read and run through route concepts. He didn't perform in a complex offense, and many of his successful passes were based on keeping defenses on a string with his running ability.
Of course, Pryor's best on the run. He uses breakaway speed to make something out of nothing when a play has broken down. Tremendous second-level burst and agility. He's especially dangerous when running counter and play-action. As a runner, he gets outside the tackles in a hurry, accelerates past second-level defenders, and squares his shoulders quickly to get upfield. He is much better throwing when he's rolling right; Pryor keeps his eyes downfield and understands timing. On motion throws to his left, his mechanics slow down and get rickety.
Pryor's not an integrated package as a quarterback just yet; he really could have used that extra time in college. But here is where we are, and the fact that he's going to a team that seems to always value speed above all else — including football acumen and advanced schematic development — makes one wonder if he won't see the field somehow in the preseason.
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