As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been deemed eligible to enter the 2011 supplemental draft. The draft will be held Monday, Aug. 21, after a brief delay caused by the NFL's debate about Pryor's potential right to enter the league.
Whatever problems the NFL may have had about Pryor doing so have apparently been mitigated by an interesting draft precedent — Pryor will serve the five-game suspension he would have served at Ohio State in 2011. He will be ineligible for the first five games of the 2011 NFL season, and will not be able to practice with his team during the suspension, though he would be able to play in the preseason.
Yahoo! Sports has learned that the NFLPA was prepared to fight the suspension, but Pryor's management team made the decision on its own to accept it.
The NFL informed its teams that Pryor "made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL draft." These included Pryor's failure to cooperate with the NCAA in its investigation of Ohio State, and hiring an agent (Drew Rosenhaus) in violation of NCAA rules.
ESPN St. Louis' Howard Balzer adds that Pryor will work out for NFL teams at a high school field in Pittsburgh this Saturday.
Pryor left Ohio State after his part in a scandal that involved impermissible benefits given to players over a number of years. Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel lost his job, and the program was rocked to its core. Pryor chose to make his way to the NFL instead of serving his suspension.
It's a very interesting precedent, but I'm not sure how transferrable such a suspension should be. The NFL isn't beholden to carry forward any NCAA punishments, and Pryor hasn't committed any NFL violations. As happy as he may be to have the chance to enter the NFL, Pryor may also be wondering how it is that he'll be out those first five games given the case of former Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon(notes). Jarmon was suspended his entire senior season after testing positive for a banned diuretic, entered the 2009 supplemental draft as a result, was selected by the Washington Redskins in the third round, and served no NFL penalty.
As NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang notes, there are six players entering this year's supplemental draft: Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones, Georgia running back Caleb King, Lindenwood University/Allen Wranglers (IFL) defensive end Keenan Mace(notes), North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo, Pryor and Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson.
[Related: Is there value in drafting Terrelle Pryor?]
Through three seasons at Ohio State, Pryor completed 477 passes in 783 attempts (a 60.9 completion percentage) for 6,177 yards and 57 touchdowns with 26 interceptions. He also rushed 436 times for 2,164 yards (a 5.0 per-carry average) and 17 touchdowns. He's an interesting player with some talent, but as our recent scouting report entailed (check it out after the jump), there's a lot of work to be done. Most draft experts anticipate that Pryor will go in the later rounds. Teams that spend draft picks in one year's supplemental draft will forfeit the pick in that same round in the next year's draft.
The Shutdown Scouting Report: Terrelle Pryor
Accuracy: Can fit the ball into larger windows, but often benefited from defenses adjusting to the run. Throws off balance a lot when he's moving, which leads to passes that float when they should be humming. 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.
Arm strength: Can zip intermediate throws, though deep seam and post passes tend to hang up a bit. 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. Short passes tend to flutter, and his setup for such passes is still exaggerated.
Setup/release: Has a little hitch in his throwing motion, but it's not a major impediment. Rolls a lot to his left and requires too much time to set his feet when he stops to throw. Tends to need to stop and plant; the motion to set and throw doesn't look and feel natural just yet. 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.
Reading defenses: Single-read passer for the most part; Pryor 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. 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 — a common claim among option quarterbacks. Isn't tied to shotgun; can run things pretty well under center and doesn't trip over himself on drop steps.
Mobility: Uses breakaway speed to make something out of nothing when a play has broken down. Tremendous second-level burst and agility. Dangerous player on the run, especially when running counter and play-action. Gets outside the tackles in a hurry, accelerated past second-level defenders, and squares his shoulders quickly to get upfield. 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.
Conclusion: In college, Pryor faced a lot of simple zone schemes that were invariably altered by the need to pay attention to his running ability. In the NFL, where even teams running complex hybrid schemes out of nickel and dime defenses have figured out ways to stop mobile quarterbacks without sacrificing coverage, Pryor will struggle until he figures out a few things — how to derive increased velocity through proper throwing mechanics, when to cut out the read-and-run stuff and pick up progression concepts, and how to become a thrower with touch and accuracy in short windows. It's clear that he would have benefited immensely from a 2011 college season, but as the coaches like to say, "It is what it is."
Right now, Pryor is a single-pitch pitcher with some potential; a good running quarterback with some natural physical advantages. But as is the case with most spread quarterbacks (and even in an NFL that caters more to those types of quarterbacks more and more every year), Pryor will most likely have to start out as a situational guy best suited to the teams that hold Wildcat and Pistol concepts most dear. He doesn't have Cam Newton's arm, nor has he proven to have Vince Young's(notes) ability (at least, when Vince Young feels like it) to integrate passing into a more complex running scheme in an option offense. Not yet, at least. Right now, I'd compare him with one of the second-tier option guys who are still trying to get the hang of it in the pros. Tim Tebow's(notes) one easy compare, but because of Pryor's pure downfield speed, another name seems a better fit.
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