We have talked more today about a player who last appeared in an NFL game two years ago, and another who has yet to do so, than we have about current NFL news. That's because it's June, we're in the middle of a lockout, and there's not much else going on.
But even if this was Week 8 of the regular season, the unfolding Terrelle Pryor saga is worth following. It's got a little bit of everything: lies, duplicity and what sounds like misguided hopes for the future.
Last week, Pryor left Ohio State and an ever-growing scandal in his rearview mirror, presumably with designs on making himself available to NFL teams through the supplemental draft. One problem: Pryor isn't considered much of a prospect, though he seems to think enough of his talents that he kindly told the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders thanks but no thanks after they extended him an offer.
Now Pryor has hired super agent Drew Rosenhaus, who isn't in the habit of representing schlubs on the fringes of professional football.
There are also rumors that Pryor hopes to get Fired Football Coaches Association founder Jon Gruden to serve as his quarterbacks coach in the coming weeks.
In April, Gruden spoke at the Ohio State coaches clinic where he first met Pryor, and when he was asked if he thought Pryor is an NFL prospect, he said, "Yeah, I do -- I really do," according to the Columbus Dispatch. "Again, I'm accused of liking too many people. 'Gruden likes everybody.' Well, sorry about that. (But) Bill Walsh used to say, 'Don't tell me what this guy can't do. Tell me what he can do."
All respect to Walsh, one of the great offensive minds in NFL history, but remember this: Walsh was a big fan of Trent Edwards coming out of Stanford. We guess all anyone ever told him was that Edwards excelled at throwing the checkdown pass. That's an example of when more information would have been useful.
"And I tell you, Terrelle Pryor can run and he can throw," Gruden continued. "And he's a helluva competitor. And if I coached him, I'd find something for him to do. You might have to cater your offense to a degree towards his strengths. But I think this guy can develop his passing the more you pass the ball. And I think the guy is a unique, rare talent."
That doesn't seem to be the consensus. In fact, NFL Films' Greg Cosell, who watches as much game tape as most coaches, took to Twitter to evaluate Pryor's NFL prospects.
For your education, in chronological order:
- "I watched 2 games of Pryor, 7-8 of the other QB in draft. Based on those 2 games, Pryor a late round pick at best." - June 8
- "Finished 4 game study of Pryor: Miami, Wisconsin, Iowa and Arkansas in bowl game. A developmental project. No NFL QB traits at this point." - June 9
- More Pryor: Those who equate body athleticism to QB skills + tools will see positives. Those who see NFL QB as a craft will not see much." - June 10
- "More Pryor: Many issues that need major work. 2 are average arm strength + erratic accuracy. Little velocity. Can't drive ball. Poor passer." - June 10
- "More Pryor: For those who equate athleticism with QB he's a draftable player. I evaluated him w/late round/free agent grade. No NFL skills." - June 10
- "Major difference between Pryor + Newton is Newton can throw. Big arm, drives the ball. Newton can make NFL throws, Pryor at this point can't." - June 10
But here's the rub: you'll never read "no expectations" on the scouting report of high-round draft picks. In fact, it's how you end up with the late round/free agent grade Cosell gave Pryor.
Of course, Rosenhaus' job is to sell his client. Or, at the very least, have that be the perception. If Pryor ends up going in the fifth round of the supplemental draft, Rosenhaus will declare it a victory. In terms of PR, he's probably right. Just something to remember, though: Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett sat out a season before entering the draft. The Broncos eventually took him in the third round, and he didn't make it out of training camp.
The expectations will be much higher for Pryor, and the scrutiny will be even more intense.
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