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Pryor might be wise to wait on entering supplemental draft

Greg Bartman / US Presswire
Terrelle Pryor has several hurdles to leap over before he's ready to play in the NFL.


Editor's note: This article was published in June, two months before Terrelle Pryor was ruled eligible for the supplemental draft but must sit out the first five regular-season games after he signs a contract.

Terrelle Pryor isn’t ready for the NFL. Not even close.

In fact, the quarterback whose playing career is finished at Ohio State might be better suited to make a position change at the next level due to the numerous concerns about his game and potential as a signal-caller. Wide receiver or tight end would certainly suit his athleticism, but Pryor would still face a steep learning curve at each position, and the odds would be stacked against him.

Perhaps Pryor should seriously consider making a move down to an FCS (where he would likely still have to serve a five-game suspension) or NAIA school (where he could play right away) to further his development as a quarterback. He would get additional starts playing quarterback and benefit from added time in college to monitor his maturity, character and leadership skills.

If Pryor does decide to enter the NFL's supplemental draft (if there is one), his stock will be hindered by his perceived character flaws and off-field issues. His role in the NCAA scandal that has the potential to destroy Ohio State raises concerns about his decision-making and leadership. As the potential face of a franchise, his attitude, demeanor and work ethic must rate off the charts, and there are serious reservations about his intangibles.

On the field, as a third-year junior with 35 career starts, scouts have more than enough film to make a solid evaluation. Pryor is a multi-talented athlete with great size, strength and speed. Given those natural gifts, he brings a different set of skills to the offense as a dual threat. His athleticism and running abilities allow him to make plays on the perimeter, and he frequently uses those skills to flee the pocket under duress.

As a passer, Pryor possesses a strong arm but struggles with his accuracy and touch on most throws. His inconsistency as a passer can be attributed to his sloppy footwork and unrefined mechanics. He doesn't fully incorporate his lower body into his throws, causing the ball to sail or fall short on intermediate and deep passes.

Pryor's mechanical flaws will certainly take time to overhaul, but prospective teams will also need to help him make a mental makeover regarding his approach to the quarterback position. He struggles reading and recognizing coverage, which leads to late or inaccurate throws from the pocket. His lack of awareness and anticipation stands out on tape, as he frequently fails to lead his receivers into open windows against man or zone coverage.

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On top of that, Pryor faces the arduous task of making the adjustment from playing in a spread offense to directing a pro-style system. He will not only have to adjust to retreating from under center, but he must learn how to read and process information while dropping back, which has proven to be a difficult challenge for previous spread quarterbacks.

While some will compare Pryor to Vince Young and Cam Newton, he falls well short of both players from a talent perspective. He doesn't possess the passing skills and natural talent of Newton, and isn't a playmaker of Young's ilk.

If Pryor stays in school, he has a steep hill to climb to become a second- or third-round prospect in the 2012 draft, with as many as four quarterbacks already viewed as possible first-round selections (and eight prospects regarded as early-round picks).

If Pryor does decide to throw his name in the supplemental draft this year, he will earn a mid-to-late round grade on most boards and probably hear his name called in the fifth round or lower on draft day.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks

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