Oakland Raiders  

 

Pryor must focus on fundamentals, work ethic to be an NFL QB

Chuck Cook / US Presswire
Terrelle Pryor will need to develop as a pocket passer to find success as an NFL quarterback.


Terrelle Pryor is headed to Oakland to play quarterback after being selected by the Raiders in the third round of the supplement draft.

Despite speculation that Pryor would be asked to change positions in the NFL, the Raiders have every intention of giving the athletic but raw passer an opportunity to develop at the game's most important position.

There are a lot of reasons to suggest that Pryor has the talent to make the transition: A 31-4 starting record at Ohio State; 4.36 speed in the 40-yard dash at 6-foot-5, 232 pounds; and a big arm. Conversely, he's an unpolished pocket passer who has struggled with turnovers because of questionable decisions.

Ultimately, Pryor's ability to succeed as a quarterback might depend on his willingness to do the following things:

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Be a pro

Pryor wants to play quarterback, but scouts had serious concerns about his leadership, work ethic and maturity in college. He must shed those habits and understand what Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees accomplished by showing a commitment to being great from a mental standpoint.

Since Pryor won't be able to practice or play with the team while he serves a five-game suspension imposed by the league, he'll need to master the Raiders' playbook and live in the film room. That means working to fully understand the scheme and knowing how to attack the various fronts and coverage presented by opponents. Making the effort to get close to Jason Campbell and other veterans should help Pryor develop a better understanding of the team and what it takes to lead the group.

Playing quarterback at a high level requires more than talent; it's about leadership and putting in the time. If Pryor is serious about becoming a great one, he must embrace the grind and become a "first one in, last one out" kind of player who earns the respect of his teammates and coaches.

Master the nuances of playing quarterback

Pryor must develop into a quarterback capable of thriving inside and outside of the pocket. At this point, he's an unrefined pocket passer and his game relies heavily on his natural physical tools. While that approach served him well in college, he'll quickly learn you can't consistently win playing sandlot ball. He needs to spend a lot of time on his footwork and throwing mechanics to improve his accuracy. Playing with a wider base and incorporating his legs more into throws will help that cause. This will also improve his velocity.

In addition to the on-field work, Pryor must work diligently with his coaches to develop a better understanding of blitz concepts. Most offenses put the responsibility of setting pass protection on the quarterback, which could be a new experience for Pryor after working extensively in a spread formation at Ohio State.

Be adaptable

While Pryor wants to be a quarterback long-term, his athleticism makes him an immediate option as a multi-purpose weapon. He's so talented that coaches will want to put him on the field to tap into his potential as quickly as possible. This could lead to Pryor initially playing in a Brad Smith-like role that puts him on the field as a receiver or running back to get him the ball in space. If used as a Wildcat quarterback, he could create problems for defenders.

While the Raiders are intrigued by the possibilities, Pryor must be willing to learn a new position and show a commitment to playing any role. His willingness to meet the coaches' demands and needs could be rewarded with an opportunity to become a key contributor on a team with serious playoff aspirations.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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