The Raiders say Terrelle Pryor was selected to play quarterback. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel says Terrelle Pryor will be “scary” now that he can put his entire focus just on football.
Scary? That may be the wrong word to use for a Raiders franchise that’s still haunted by past draft bungles on quarterbacks such as JaMarcus Russell and Todd Marinovich.
Of course, Tressel meant Pryor – taken by the Raiders in Monday’s NFL supplemental draft -- will be scary good. But scary bad seems just as much a possibility.
Nobody doubts the former Buckeye has a huge upside. He’s 6-foot-5, he’s fast (a reported 4.36 40 time), has a strong arm and showed in college that he could win (31-4 record).
But a USA Today poll Monday summed up the wide range of opinions out there about the Raiders’ move, offering options from “Raiders got a steal” to “Al Davis proves again he has lost his way.”
In fact, Pryor over the past two days has spent much of his time defending his abilities as a quarterback and stating he does not want to switch positions, since some pundits have speculated that his skills are too raw and the only way he’ll make it in the NFL is as a wide receiver or tight end.
For now, the Raiders are saying Pryor is a quarterback. Said head coach Hue Jackson: “He can throw it. He can run with it. He’s smart. He’s tough … We’ll work with him and get this guy to be a good player.”
Longtime Bay Area columnist Art Spander says the selection of Pryor is a no-lose move, even if, “As a college passer he was an excellent runner.” It costs the team only a third-round pick next year and Pryor’s athletic upside is off the charts. Plus, it gives the Raiders some attention, something Davis craves, Spander says.
Analyst Bucky Brooks of NFL.com believes Pryor has the ability to play QB in the NFL, but says he’ll have to adapt and do three things. First, “be a pro” by working hard, showing leadership and learning from veterans. Second, master the nuances of footwork and mechanics. And third, “be adaptable” and willing to get on the field early in his career in other capacities – much like Brad Smith did with the Jets – as a Wildcat QB or receiver to make use of his athleticism.
Said Tressel: “I think he looks forward to being under the radar and having something to prove.”