Then ESPN’s James Walker wrote a piece about it. And Fox Sports Ohio’s Zac Jackson tweets about the piece and calls it ‘interesting’. Then I find myself getting asked questions through twitter about the suggestion. So here I am.
The headline from the Walker piece? “Browns should take flier on Terrelle Pryor.“
And not just no. No with hair on it. No with the stench of a dead woodchuck rotting under the porch. (A little Dilbert reference for you this morning.) I can’t emphasize the no enough here.
Now James Walker is normally a level-headed sort. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he may not have seen Terrelle Pryor play as much as the typical Buckeye fan has. Perhaps he was assigned the topic. Perhaps the NFL bloggers for ESPN were all supposed to think of what team in their region might take a chance on Pryor and write about it. I don’t know how they operate over there. But I can tell you that this is a bad idea for several reasons. First of which is-
Terrelle Pryor will never be an above average starting QB in the NFL.
There. I can’t be more blunt, nor do I feel more strongly about many things in the world of sports. I don’t usually make these kinds of claims. I realize that a lot of things can happen, and that nobody expected Tom Brady blah, blah, blah.
I don’t say this as a bitter Buckeye fan either. I have in fact been saying this for the last season and a half watching Pryor play.
You may not remember a piece I wrote last October asking not if Pryor will make a good pro QB, but if he shouldn’t have chosen basketball instead-
The question remains- is Pryor the right fit for this offense? Yes, he still has another year and a half to improve, but I think it may be safe to say that he is just not a great pocket passer. He still floats the ball on occasion. His delivery is awkward. That isn’t to say he can’t be a good to very good college QB at Ohio State. But in an offense that doesn’t like to take chances, and certainly wouldn’t ever give it’s QB the kind of rushing attempts that Michigan is giving Robinson, could Pryor have been more effective at another school?
The bigger question I have for Terrelle Pryor is not did he make the right decision by coming to Ohio State to play QB, but is he making the right decision for his future by playing QB at all?
Walters reminded us all in his piece that Pryor waited until well past the national signing day to choose OSU. What Walters failed to mention is what Pryor was doing during that time. At least part of that time was spent winning a state basketball championship. Yes, Terrelle Pryor could have attended any school he wanted to on a basketball scholarship.
Ask yourself this- does Terrelle Pryor have a chance at making it in the NFL as a QB? Even the most loyal Buckeye fan has to see there is no way his delivery, streaky accuracy and read progression has NFL scouts drooling. If Tim Tebow’s motion was a red flag, just wait until they get hold of Pryor’s.
There is a chance Pryor will be given a shot to make an NFL roster as a WR. The problem is he will be so behind the curve in knowing that position, that he will be a project at best. And I fear (for him) an undrafted project at that.
Would he have a better shot to play basketball professionally? I wonder. It isn’t really too late for Pryor either.
Whether it is air-mailing short out routes over the receivers’ heads, or bouncing the ball at the feet of the running back, or absolutely floating ducks 45 yards downfield for his more athletic players to try and haul in over defenders, I wonder what anyone really sees in Pryor the QB? Especially someone who is looking to install a west-coast offense. It just doesn’t make sense.
I remind Walker, Holmgren and anyone who will listen what Pryor himself said after the Sugar Bowl this year- “I don’t think I’m ready for the NFL. I got a lot of learning to do and better decision-making to make, on and off the field.”
Has anything changed? I don’t think so.
The Browns are not a good fit for a project like Pryor.
Walker’s argument is that (1) the Browns have draft picks to spare in 2012, (2) Holmgren and Shurmur are both good at developing QBs, and (3) even if Pryor doesn’t work out at QB the Browns could turn him into a wide reciever.
First, draft picks to spare is an interesting concept. For a team that has as many holes as the Browns do, I hardly think that using one of the Browns ‘extra’ picks is a good idea on Pryor. Certainly Walker can’t be talking about the Falcons’ first round pick they acquired in the draft day trade this year. Is he implying the 4th rounder they got from the Falcons? I certainly hope not. I went on record on the Les Levine show Tuesday night saying I thought Pryor would likely end up going in the fourth round in the supplemental draft. So I don’t think the fourth would be a stretch right? Wrong. I said he will probably end up going in the fourth, and that is when Buckeye fans will snicker or outright laugh at the team that drafts him that high.
Yes, Holmgren and Shurmur are known to be quarterback groomers. Which is a great thing. Because they already have a QB project on the roster. His name is Colt McCoy. The team is going to have to install an entirely new system whenever this lock-out is lifted. No matter how much the guys have been working out together at Colt’s ranch, they are going to be seriously behind schedule from the teams in the league who did not change offensive systems. How many reps do you want to take away from McCoy and his primary back-up Wallace to show Terrelle Pryor how to play in the system as well? Yes, Holmgren loves to take QB projects late in the draft. I suggest they look at some undrafted free agents that maybe have some experience in this kind of system.
I will even concede that Pryor could end up playing WR someday in the league. Maybe. Eventually. How many years do you want to wait for that?
There is no way it would be worth the noise it would create.
From a public relations stand point, it seems like a mess as well. I know, this is not a primary reason for not selecting a player. And it isn’t my primary reason either. It is something to consider though isn’t it? For a player that you know isn’t going to sniff the field in a meaningful situation for maybe 2 seasons at best, why bring in a guy that is going to be polarizing? I shiver thinking about the crowd chanting for Pryor if McCoy were to struggle or get injured.
So please, let’s just let the Pryor to Cleveland thing die.
I would like to offer my two cents to Pryor if by some obscure chance he is reading. Why not go to Europe and play basketball for a season? Or play for the D-league. Get the rust off. Work on your game. I think you may have a better chance at playing pro basketball than in the NFL. I’ve got no reason to steer you wrong. I’m not advising you with my hand in your wallet. Think about it.
(Photo: Chuck Crow/Plain Dealer, Pryor, AP Photo/Seth Perlman)