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Pryor Learning 

Back in 2011 Terrelle Pryor left Ohio State to enter the NFL supplemental draft. During his time he at Ohio he completed 60.9 per cent of his passes. Whilst he could make some great down the field throws his accuracy was an issue. However, it was his play with the ball in hand that really got scouts excited. Pryor could move around in the backfield to make players miss and so buy time for his receivers. But most impressive was what happened when he took off with the ball. As a runner he was dangerous and put up over 2000 yards rushing in three years for OSU. Pryor wasn’t just a gifted runner, he had the athleticism to avoid tackles and the speed to outrun defenders. Sporting News’ draft expert Russ Lande said “He is a legitimate big-play threat every time he takes off with the ball. He is a quicker, more explosive athlete than Tim Tebow or Cam Newton.”

The late Al Davis loved players with impressive size and speed combinations (Pryor is 6’4 and ran a 4.38 40 yard dash) so it seemed fitting that the Raiders used a supplemental draft pick on him. Before Derek Carr was lighting up the Raiders offence Pryor was picked up as a developmental QB. The former Ohio State star served a five-game suspension for his NCAA memorabilia violations and so only played one snap as a rookie. He played sparingly in his second season too, before getting a chance to start for the majority of the 2013 season. On the biggest stage he rushed for 576 yards for an impressive average of 6.9 yards, including a play that hinted where his future might lay, a 93 yard touchdown run against the Steelers [See video here]. Unfortunately for Pryor his accuracy problems persisted and he ended the season with 11 interceptions and only 7 touchdowns. It wasn’t enough in the eyes of the Raiders and Pryor was allowed to leave.

Pryor signed with the Bengals, and was all set to continue as a quarterback but, fortunately for Cleveland Brown fans, he didn’t show enough skill at the position and was released before playing a meaningful game. The release prompted him to re-think his stance on only playing quarterback and he agreed to sign as a receiver despite saying “I don’t know how to catch. I don’t know how to run the ball as a running back. I’ve been a quarterback my whole life.”

As with many of the truly great stories there’s a hidden thread running through this one. When he was drafted by the Raiders his head coach saw something in him. When he was picked up by the Bengals his offensive coordinator was a huge supporter. Finally, when he agreed to move to receiver and signed with the Browns there was faith that he would develop, with time and hard work. In each case the man that saw the potential was the man charged with turning around the laughing stock Cleveland Browns – Hue Jackson. had this to say prior to the season ‘While anything is possible for an athlete as dominant as Pryor, history indicates it is extremely unlikely that he will be a viable fantasy option anytime soon, if at all’. But Terrelle is working hard to prove his doubters wrong and in week 3 against the Dolphins caught 14 passes for 144 yards and, rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown, completed 3 of 5 passes for 35 yards and even lined up at safety!

Personally I like the odds of Pryor becoming a good NFL receiver. The Browns finally got back to back starts out of a quarterback in 2016 (rookie Cody Kessler) and should get their rookie receiver back to stop teams keying on Pryor. I don’t think Pryor breaks 1,000 yards this year (I hope he proves me wrong) but the future for Pryor is bright. Albeit Brown.

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