Pryor in Oakland is an ideal fit
He’s lost almost an entire preseason of practices, won’t get paid for his first five professional games and is highly unlikely to make an impact in his rookie NFL season.
Other than that, Terrelle Pryor should be thrilled how Monday’s supplemental draft unfolded.
Pryor was selected in the third round. That’s a round or two higher than many pre-draft projections and should translate accordingly in Pryor’s rookie contract signing bonus.
Pryor also landed with a team that has lacked a long-term answer at quarterback: the Oakland Raiders.
The top three signal-callers on Oakland’s roster — starter Jason Campbell and reserves Kyle Boller and Trent Edwards — all had the chance to become franchise players for the respective clubs that drafted them. All three flopped, which is why they’ve landed with the Raiders.
Raiders head coach Hue Jackson is bullish on Campbell. We’ll see. But this fact can’t be disputed: Oakland has lacked a difference-maker at the position since Rich Gannon helped lead the 2002 Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII.
Not-so-coincidentally, Oakland hasn’t made the playoffs since then.
The biggest quarterback draft flop in NFL history was Oakland choosing JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007. While he hasn’t come at the same lofty price as Russell, there is no guarantee Pryor will fare much better.
As evidenced by his 4.41-yard time in the 40-yard dash and 33-inch vertical jump during a Saturday predraft workout, Pryor is a better athlete than Russell. But he may be an even worse passer when it comes to accuracy. Throwing mechanics are a concern, too. That’s why a player with Pryor’s physical skills, size (6-foot-5 and 238 pounds) and stellar 31-4 college record as an Ohio State starter slid into the third round.
With so many veteran quarterbacks on Oakland’s roster, Pryor shouldn’t be pressed into playing any time soon. Pryor also will have the chance to fix his flaws with input from Jackson, who played a role in the development of Baltimore’s Joe Flacco when he was Ravens quarterbacks coach in 2008 and 2009.
This being the Raiders, Pryor can’t bank on stability or Jackson even being head coach in 2012. And who knows if Raiders owner Al Davis won’t lean on his staff to see if Pryor can make the conversion to wide receiver?
History is against Pryor succeeding. The Raiders have whiffed on the past eight quarterbacks they’ve drafted dating back to Steve Beuerlein in 1987. Previous early- to mid-round picks in that graveyard include Russell, Andrew Walter (2005), Marques Tuiasosopo (2001), Billy Joe Hobert (1993) and Todd Marinovich (1991).
But let’s not rain too much on Pryor’s parade like the NCAA did when finding him guilty of receiving payola at Ohio State. Pryor had nowhere to play in 2011 if he wasn’t granted entry into the supplemental draft.
Considering the worst-case scenario Pryor was facing at one point last week — being forced to wait until the 2012 college draft because of his off-field college indiscretions — just gaining entry into the NFL is reason to celebrate.