As NFL teams were beginning to evaluate Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor for the 2011 supplemental draft, one big concern almost all scouts seemed to voice was about his mechanics as a passer.
One NFL head coach had this to say about him, to Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks: “He’s a heck of an athlete. Very similar to Cam Newton in the type of athlete he is. But he doesn’t have the mechanics, the throwing mechanics, that he needs. I see someone taking him as a three-year project, to get him to be an NFL-level quarterback. … He doesn’t have that natural throwing motion.”
Two summers later, however, Pryor apparently has ditched the bad mechanics and morphed into a passer who knows what he’s doing. At least those are the early reports coming out of Raiders training camp in Napa.
Over this offseason, Pryor sought out throwing-mechanics expert Tom House, a former major league pitcher who has counseled several NFL quarterbacks, including the Patriots’ Tom Brady, reported Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.
“I never really knew how to throw a football before,” Pryor told McDonald Sunday. “It’s coming along. I’m getting way better. I probably missed four or five throws out of 80, 85 throws today. I might ice my arm as a precaution tonight, but it feels great.”
According to Pryor, House worked with him on polishing his footwork and lower-body positioning so that he can throw the football more accurately and with more zip, while also taking stress off his arm. Now, after refining his mechanics with House, he’s working with new offensive coordinator Greg Olson and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo early in this training camp and feels good about his progress.
“They’ve got me going in the right direction to be a pretty good quarterback who knows how to throw the ball,” Pryor told McDonald.
Matt Flynn sits at No. 1 on the Raiders’ quarterback depth chart, with fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson a presumed challenger. Going into this training camp, it was believed Pryor would also be in the mix, but doubts remained about his throwing ability.
Now, perhaps, Pryor is smoothing over those concerns with smoother mechanics.
“He’s worked extremely hard at it, and any time you get a talented player that works extremely hard, he’s going to get better,” head coach Dennis Allen told McDonald. “We’re doing some things with him to try and take advantage of his talents. He’s responding to that.”
One possibility is that Olson may be able to work Pryor into the offensive scheme with special packages that can take advantage of his speed and running ability. If Pryor is becoming a more polished passer, however, it’s possible he could compete for the starting job and make a case for himself during the exhibition season.
After the Raiders traded for Flynn this offseason, Pryor responded on Twitter that he wasn’t disappointed or angry, but welcomed the competition.
“I LOVE to COMPETE!” he tweeted. “Whatever makes us better!”
Now, it appears Pryor has taken the next step to make himself better, which could make for a very interesting quarterback competition over the next several weeks.