August 1, 2014

Flier on Pryor? Browns Should Say “No!”

I never thought I would seriously have to address this.

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.

Um, no.

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.

Oh boy.

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)

  • Lyon

    agree 100% Rick. When I read that article, I couldn’t believe Walker wrote it. he normally avoids stupid pieces like this.

    I think he’d be better served proving he can play QB in the UFL or whatever then trying to catch on. But your Euroleague basketball idea intrigues me. I kind of hope he goes this route just so i can see how it plays out.

  • jimkanicki

    100% agreed Rick.
    Lyon speaks for me, pretty much verbatim.

  • Clown Baby

    Besides possessing little QB talent and being a bit of a knucklehed, I don’t think Pryor was very well liked by his teammates. This is just based on things I’ve read on the internet here and there. But he WAS an ex-Buckeye so I would be okay with the Browns taking him as long as he played better then he ever has and changed who he is as a person.

  • stin4u

    I wonder, had all this scandal not transpired, if the OSU fan boys would be clamoring for the Browns to ditch McCoy and draft Pryor. My guess is yes, without a doubt.

    There was nothing worse than sitting through the ’07 draft listening to all of my Buckeye faithful friends tell me that Troy Smith should have been the Browns first round pick.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew

    Let me preface this by saying I’m not necessarily saying the Browns should take a chance on Pryor. But yes, I’m going to offer up a defense of Pryor’s skills as a QB.

    Troy Smith’s Hesiman season (his 3rd season at QB):

    203-311 (65.3%), 2542 yards, 30 TD 6 INT, Rating: 161.9;
    72 carries, 204 yards, 1 TD

    Terrelle Pryor last year (his 3rd season at QB):

    210-323 (65.0%), 2772 yards, 27 TD 11 INT, Rating: 157.9;
    135 carries, 754 yards, 4 TD

    Pryor’s throwing numbers are not very different from Troy Smith’s numbers. Now, stats don’t tell the whole story, and obviously Troy Smith never made an impact in the NFL, but I think it’s a bit much to just categorically state that there is NO WAY Pryor can be an NFL QB.

    Furthermore, Rick makes it sound like every pass Pryor threw was terrible. That’s far from the truth. He completed 65% of his passes despite the fact that yes, multiple times every game he would throw a horrible ball.

    If a coach can fix those mechanics, and you combine that with his elite escapability in the pocket, he just might have a chance. Terrelle Pryor is a flat out winner. He finds ways to make the biggest plays in the biggest moments to win games.

    Would I bet any money that Pryor will be an NFL QB? No. I do not think the Browns need to waste their time or draft picks on this kind of project and distraction either. The only thing I have a problem with is the way his QB skills are portrayed. He’s a LOT better than people give him credit for. Because most people just find him unlikable, they tend to fixate on his negatives and don’t consider what he can actually bring to the table as a QB.

  • james

    Pryor should go to the UFL

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    He’s not even a hometown dreamboat like Brady Quinn. Why bother?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    “Furthermore, Rick makes it sound like every pass Pryor threw was terrible. That’s far from the truth. He completed 65% of his passes despite the fact that yes, multiple times every game he would throw a horrible ball.”

    Let’s take a look at those completion numbers. Pryor’s top completion percentage games-
    Marshall 68%
    Purdue 72.7%
    Ohio 75.9%
    Eastern Michigan 76.9%
    Indiana 80%
    Minnesota 81.8%

    Great numbers. Atrocious defenses. Not even worth discussing how bad those secondaries were.

    His worst performances on the year?
    Arkansas 56.0%
    Iowa 54.5%
    Wisconsin 50%
    Miami 44.4%

    Better defenses. Better talent. Against the elite talent in the NFL? Nope. No thank you. Someone else take him please.

  • Clown Baby

    I completely agree with Rick and would guess that many of Pryor’s completions were very short and didn’t require the timing and precision that NFL throws do. That being said, I’m all for talking up Pryor in hopes that Mike Brown is reading.

  • Mallalubba

    100%…and in the stage the Browns are in as a franchise, the risk/reward is not even on the chart of worth it.

  • Joe

    I agree he’s not a QB. But if he is there in the 5-7th rounds, I would take a flyer on him as something other than a QB. His speed and athleticism alone show you that he has a place in the league somewhere.

    PS remember that TD pass he caught in the Bowl game?

    TD for TP!! lol

  • http://www.redright88.com Titus Pullo

    I’d rather see the Browns bring back Spergon Wynn that waste a draft pick or anything on Pryor.

  • BillTheHammer

    Ryan Leaf is even mocking James Walker

  • Harv 21

    Derek Anderson doesn’t understand why everyone’s making such a big deal about maturity and sailing it high and wide every now and again.

  • http://twitter.com/lilOUmikey lilOUmikey

    Everyone here is honkalicious, you’re all telling me that you won’t use a 4th or 5th round pick from the 2012 draft to take a flier on an elite athlete? This athlete will have an extra year of development under Browns coaches rather then the 2012 pick. This athlete, on a weekly basis, outran some of the best defensive athletes in college football. If this athlete didn’t cause the demise of your precious sweatervest, this wouldn’t even be a debate.

    Does the kid have attitude issues? Sure, but those issues stemmed from being the elite athlete for the past 7+ years. In the NFL, he will simply be on the level of Jordan Norwood and Jarrett Brown. A huge reality check will hit him once he looks around his first huddle in training camp.

    Ok maybe I just want to see his face on the sideline at the start of the 4th quarter of the Browns home opener when Hang on Sloopy comes on.

  • jimkanicki

    Mikey, that is EXACTLY what I’m telling you.

    i don’t want ‘athletes’ and I definitely dont want entitled athletes who’ve been groomed to aspire toward ‘global icon’ status since high school.

    i would much rather spend a 5th/6th/7th round pick on a FOOTBALL PLAYER. someone who will be fulfilling years of hard work by being invited to a camp. willing to work hard, pay dues, be coached, and all with a positive attitude.

    in short, i would take justin boren over terrell pryor every every time.

  • OhioMIke

    Dam….here comes Kosar again!!!!!!!!

  • Lyon

    Stin, I could be described as an OSU “fanboy” and can say without a doubt I still wouldn’t want Pryor. I did not like his QB play while he was a Buckeye & never wanted him for the Brownies. He got the job done most of the time for the Bucks, but not once did he ever strike me as an NFL QB. Like Rick said, too many missed WRs & too many floating ducks were thrown.

  • stin4u

    @Lyon – It just seems to me that the Cleveland/OSU fans want any and all ex Buckeyes, regardless of talent, to end up in a Browns uniform. I just feel that, had Pryor gone the way of Troy Smith and at least made a strong Heisman this past year the tone on this type of thing would be drastically different.

    Btw I’m not referencing fanboy as a derogatory term here. I’m a self professed ND fanboy and I was fan numero uno of the Brady Quinn pick *gulp* we all have our swings and misses….

  • Chucky Brown

    another osu fanboy here, and even if he would of spearheaded a 2012 BCS championship, i still would not have endorsed him for the Browns starting qb job. Dudes not an NFL QB.

  • Clown Baby

    OSU fan as well and I wouldn’t want Pryor anywhere near the Browns. His passing struggles are well documented but more than that what always irritated me with Pryor were the fits he threw after many of his incompletions. Too many times did I see him look at Tressel on the sidelines and start miming what the receiver did wrong. He would literally start throwing a tantrum because he perceived the receiver as screwing up.

    Whether he was right or wrong, I always thought Pryor should be talking to the receivers about the miscommunication, not trying to convince Tressel it wasn’t his fault. I just don’t think that is a QB mentality and it wouldn’t play well in the locker room.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    When contemplating Pryors chances of success in the NFL, I don’t lean too heavily on stats. Why? Because I have eyeballs.

    Anyone can see why Pryor wouldn’t be good. The high passes may hit the ground against Indiana, but they go for six the other way in the NFL. That’s my theory on Pryor…he won’t be able to stay on the field for more that 5 or 6 plays without throwing the disaster ball to the defense.

  • Clown Baby

    @ C-Bus: Even as an OSU fan I had to laugh when people referred to Pryor’s passes as “Arm Punts.”

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    On one hand I agree with Rick.

    On another hand, I would like to think that the current Browns regime is the kind that will be capable of taking talented athletes and using them to win football games in one form or another.

    I think if Terrelle Pryor is intent on being an NFL quarterback and that alone, then bringing him here is problematic. Then again, if he is finally feeling desperate about just wanting to play in the NFL and the Browns can convince him that his future is more like Brad Smith with the New York Jets, then I am fine with it.

    Smith was taken in the 4th round of the 2006 NFL draft, FWIW.

  • Andrew

    If Holmgren thinks he’s the guy, then go get him. I’m not going to sit here and insinuate that I know more about quarterbacking in the NFL than Coach Holmgren.

    If the Browns need a network administrator or other Technical consultant, I’ll offer my opinions.

  • Matt

    If you wanted to pay Josh Cribbs, you should want Pryor, IMO.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    @Matt- really? You see Pryor as being willing to do whatever it takes, including covering kicks and punts in order to help the team?

    Perhaps that’s part of why the Browns don’t need Pryor. They have Cribbs for kick returns and wildcat offense.

  • GhostToMost

    Watch him to to Pittsburgh and become a Pro Bowl receiver. As much as I dislike giving the Steelers credit for anything, that would probably be a good place for him.

  • hotsawcewilly

    i understand the argument against TP, and i saw the 2-3 HOOOOrrrible passes he threw a game, but as a Browns fan first, second, and third and Buckeye fan fourth…. I watched as he ALSO had 4-5 plays a game that very, very few elite athletes could accomplish. its a bloody shame he never got an extra season to mature (granted it is his own fault… still…)
    BUT, if Holmgren eventually decides Terrell is worth a chance I am all for it. If not, I wish TP well… he was young, immature and stupid at times, but but he sure gave us some exciting memories!
    Can’t wait to see our Brownies again!!!

  • Really?

    You’re joking right??? I love how everybody claims he wasn’t THAT good in college when he holds just about every OSU QB record, lead the team to Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl victories, and three Big Ten titles! Sure, he probably wont be an NFL QB, and the Browns would almost certainly not use him as a starting QB.. BUT he is an absolute physical football freak, nobody can deny that. Whit his speed and size, he would be an addition to ANY nfl roster… and the browns need talent. So to say NO NO NO, would be daft. Definitely worth considering TP. YES YES YES!

    AND when it comes to filling holes with draft picks to spare in 2012, you should know that the Browns are HORRIBLE drafters overall. Just horrible. couch, brown, warren, green, faine, winslow, edwards, wimbley quinn. 9 of out 13 first round picks. yeah. (Phil Taylor might be on that list soon too. I hope passing on Julio doesn’t come back to bite us on the [you know what], sounds like it so far) – granted wimbley and winslow actually panned out, but in typical browns fashion, they were just given away for more future lower draft picks.