Plenty to prove: Pryor's college pedigree meaningless in NFL

Amy Sancetta / Associated Press
Terrelle Pryor will work out Saturday in hopes of impressing at least one NFL team.

So the question now, after quarterback Terrelle Pryor was ruled eligible for Monday's NFL supplemental draft, becomes what kind of pro prospect the ex-Ohio State dynamo really is.

Pryor will hold a pro day on Saturday at a high school near where he grew up in Western Pennsylvania, which will be part of an effort to knock down a whole lot of NFL skepticism over his abilities.

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He has worked with ex-Bengals quarterback and quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson over the last two months to prepare for the pro day and supplemental draft, and what Anderson saw was what perception has held: That the 6-foot-6 Pryor is still an unpolished gem of a prospect.

"The thing with him is the same as it is with all these guys coming out of the shotgun -- it's learning to drop and have the proper footwork and balance when you throw," Anderson said. "Everyone knows he's a good athlete. But I think he's done a nice job of really working at his footwork, delivery and accuracy. He's come a long way.

"I think he can be an NFL quarterback. How far can he progress? Who knows? But he has the talent. He has the size and ability, and his arm is strong enough."

Pryor was also a very productive college quarterback, going 31-4 as a starter, winning the Big Ten in all three of his seasons and leading the Buckeyes to victories in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl the last two years with MVP performances. He finished his Ohio State career having thrown for 6,177 yards and 57 touchdowns, and rushed for 2,164 yards and another 17 scores.

With all that in mind, most NFL scouts have doubts about how his game will translate to the NFL. And it goes far beyond the laundry list of NCAA violations that he was alleged to have committed.

"He's very athletic, mobile," one AFC personnel executive said. "He's got the physical tools and the arm strength. But all the questions are there with his field vision, his accuracy, ball placement, location, and intangibles. He's a thrower more than a passer. Cam Newton's a far better passer in my eyes.

"I don't think (Pryor) can be a consistent starter. He has some starter flashes, but I don't think his eyes, his decision-making, his recognition, or his accuracy will ever all reach starter level."

And that brings up the big question: How much of Pryor's college success was based on the overwhelming physical gifts that made him a blue-chip recruit in two sports (football and basketball) coming out of high school?

"He's an athlete playing the (QB) position," an NFC personnel executive said. "I'd question his accuracy big time and his vision to see the field. I feel like he's a long shot to have any kind of career at quarterback."

The flip side is that, by all accounts, Pryor has put everything he has to prepare in adverse conditions at Bommarito Performance in South Florida.

Because of the circumstances surrounding the lockout and the timing of his departure from Ohio State, Pryor has been throwing to receivers who have, in essence, been circulating through a revolving door. There have been big names, of course, such as Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco, a fellow Drew Rosenhaus client. But more recently, with most players back on their day jobs, Pryor and Anderson and Co. have been more creative, even enlisting high school players at times.

"That's been the hard thing," Anderson said. "He's been throwing to different receivers every day. In fact, the last few weeks, he really hasn't had anyone to throw to. It's been a little different, but he's worked through it."

That said, Anderson has taken plenty of positives from the experience of working with Pryor.

"He's come a long way throwing it, his footwork has gotten better, and from the time we spent on the board, he's got a good understanding of football," Anderson said. "He's an extremely hard worker. I like him as a kid. He's fun to be around. He likes football, he likes to work. He's been very good around me.

"He's a good kid. We didn't get into a lot of the stuff that happened, so I can only go on how he was around me. He wants to work hard and do it right. He's a perfectionist about it. Overall, I'm very pleased with how things went."

Most NFL types see Pryor as the kind of player who might be worth a late-round flyer in the supplemental draft. But it only takes one team for a player to go much higher.

And from a physical standpoint, there is plenty about Pryor that's sure to tempt NFL decision-makers.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer



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