Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Jun 2011

The Shutdown Scouting Report: Terrelle Pryor

With former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor heading to the supplemental draft by way of Jon Gruden's QB Camp (which airs tonight on ESPN), I thought it was time to turn on the tape and do a detailed scouting report. I stayed away from the "intangibles" stuff and dealt with what I saw on the field. Short version of the eval is that while Pryor has potential, there's a LOT of work to do. The NFL team that takes him had better have a very specific schematic plan. Because, to use a word I've come to enjoy, he's not scheme-transcendent at all, and I almost wonder if he'd get picked higher than he will as a quarterback if he had a lot of tape as a receiver.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 30 Jun 2011

17 comments, Last at 06 Jul 2011, 10:51pm by Lance


by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2011 - 12:40pm

I get the Tarvaris Jackson comparison from a physical and mechanics standpoint, but the leap from OSU to the NFL is a much smaller one than the leap from Alabama State to the NFL. Pryor has played against NFL-caliber defensive players. He's had favorable results playing against teams Newton played against. I think he's a little more prepared for NFL speed than Jackson was.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2011 - 4:53pm

Dunno, picking QBs is a huge crap shoot even when guys have seemingly everything going for them. Guys like Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn played against top-level talent, ran pro-style offenses, and seemed completely prepared for the pros and still didn't pan out. Pryor would have to fix his mechanics and essentially relearn the game from scratch. He could be better than Jackson and still be a complete flop. The absolute peak I can see for him is being a serviceable pro QB, and that's just not enough upside to take on a project of that magnitude.

by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 07/01/2011 - 2:50am

So he's Cam Newton?

by Threadbare (not verified) :: Mon, 07/04/2011 - 6:39pm

"Guys like Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn played against top-level talent, ran pro-style offenses, and seemed completely prepared for the pros and still didn't pan out."

Actually, there were red flags on both those guys, which is why they both fell -- Leinart from a consensus overall #1 before the season to an iffy #10 on Draft Day, and Quinn from the cover of every preseason football mag to being lucky to get picked at 22.

But you're right, system isn't everything. Still, QBs are coming into the NFL less prepared than they once did, having spent their (increasingly brief) college careers in gimmicky spread offenses. Even a success like Joe Flacco or Sam Bradford has to be carefully protected from the realities of NFL play.

There has to be a breaking point, where 1) NCAA teams go back to playing more pro sets, or 2) the pros put in more spread-type offensive plays.

by Jerry :: Mon, 07/04/2011 - 11:42pm

Or (3) Young quarterbacks are expected to spend a few years on the bench learning before they're put in the lineup. This is a bit less likely when free agency is an issue, but it was how the NFL worked for a long time.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 06/30/2011 - 5:10pm

The quarterback that Terrelle Pryor reminds me of the most is Josh Freeman. Both very tall and without particularly strong arms, though Pryor is much more athletic. Alternatively he could be likened to a weak armed Cam Newton. However, it's where those comparisons break down that isn't going to help Pryor. Freeman is the leader of his franchise, organising player workouts in his third season and while Newton has had more than his share of off field problems his teammates have always rallied around him. Pryor's own players have gone on record saying theat they simply don't like him.

As a receiver he has the same size speed ratio as a Vincent Jackson but then we have no idea if he can catch or run routes.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 06/30/2011 - 5:42pm

On the plus side, if he does convert to WR he's already got the diva part down.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 07/01/2011 - 10:45am

"As a receiver he has the same size speed ratio as a Vincent Jackson but then we have no idea if he can catch or run routes."

Is there anything to being a receiver other than catching and running routes? Might as well say, "He's an amazing athlete for kicker, only we're not sure he can actually kick."

by Lance :: Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:07pm

"Is there anything to being a receiver other than catching and running routes?"

Well, there's size. And speed...

by almost Anonymous (not verified) :: Sat, 07/02/2011 - 10:00pm

not that it really matters, but in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas he was put at wide receiver for a couple plays, including a two point conversion where the corner just had no chance

by Threadbare (not verified) :: Mon, 07/04/2011 - 6:47pm

About the comparison with Josh Freeman: Josh has a cannon. Here's a clip:

Pryor short-arms his throws -- a mechanical problem that costs accuracy and lost speed on the ball.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 07/06/2011 - 12:40pm

While the ball does travel more than 70 yards on that throw, he hasn't driven the ball there, it's a rainbow style arc with a trajectory close to the ballistically ideal 45 degree angle for maximum distance. If a qb can drive a frozen rope of a 25 yard out from a seven step drop off the far hashmark (not all NFL qbs can) then you can easily make that throw. I'd be amazed if some of the strongest arms in the league (Cutler, Vick now Mallett) couldn't throw the ball further than that if distance was all that was considered. I've seen Alex Smith throw nearly that far and I could clear 65 yards as a younger man and you certainly wouldn't have put me under centre.

I would agree that Freeman has a stronger arm than Pryor though, I was just searching for a comparable sort of throwing + athleticism combination, there aren't very many I can bring to mind, which may not be a good sign for Pryor.

by Fans 1st game boycott (not verified) :: Sun, 07/03/2011 - 8:41pm

This has been really sick to watch and worry over all this time. Very hard on us fans.
I would like to float the idea of a world wide pledge or online petition that all fans could sign pledging that if a deal is not reached by July 15th everyone will boycott the first game played. No buying tickets, no merchandise, no viewing the games, bars do not show the games, basically a complete boycott for one week. Let's take back the game folks, Power to the People! They would never think of pulling this kind of s@$t again and cause the fans, who are really 100% responsible for them having $9B to fight over, have to deal with this stupidity. Who's with me!
PS - You can still got to the sportsbar, just as long as you are waching MLB or Hockey. What the hell you can watch soccer too.

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 07/04/2011 - 1:20pm

no thanks.

by Michael L. Huyghue (not verified) :: Mon, 07/04/2011 - 7:16pm




by Roscoe :: Tue, 07/05/2011 - 6:15pm

The owners and players are ignoring us because they think we (the fans) are idiots. They figure they can treat us like dogs and we will bitch and moan but will eventually come crawling back to the games when they deign to put them on.

The evidence suggests they are right.

by Lance :: Wed, 07/06/2011 - 10:51pm

I don't understand why we're idiots for wanting to watch football. You make it sound like the owners and players are sadists, withholding what we crave so that they can take glee in our suffering. In fact, however, it's just a labor dispute, and labor disputes happen all the time-- they normally just happen below the radar of the average person.