Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is set to make his first start in the NFL on Sunday as the Raiders travel to San Diego. Many people wonder what his future is. Let’s put Pryor under the microscope where I think we will reveal a guy with a short NFL shelf life.
The first thing that strikes me about TP’s days at Ohio State is how few passes he was asked to throw. Of the 300+ seasons I have evaluated, Pryor’s 2009 and 2010 seasons both rank in the bottom 21 for fewest passes attempted. During both the `09 and `10 seasons he averaged less than 25 passes per game in relevant matchups. One would think that a ‘promising NFL quarterback prospect’ would be trusted to throw the ball more than six times per quarter, but that wasn’t the case.
But what’s that you say, Pryor has upside? Ok. Well when we talk about upside, let’s remember this: upside is found when a player posts increasingly better numbers every year in college, indicating that there’s still room to grow. If a player plateaus against college competition, what makes you think they can suddenly kickstart their growth against NFL competition? That said, let’s look at Pryor’s evolution from the 2009 season to 2010.
Relevant Games with 2+ TD passes:
- 2009- 3
- 2010- 5
- 2009- 22.1
- 2010- 24.8
- 2009- 56.8%
- 2010- 57.1%
Yards per completion
- 2009- 13.2
- 2010- 12.8
Touchdown rate increased by 17% — jumped from 5.16 to 6.06
Interception rate increased by 25% — jumped from 3.23 to 4.04
Grade in my system (anything above 95 is a potentially elite prospect)
- 2009- 84.4
- 2010- 84.9
For the most part, it looks like Pryor stayed level. The marginal gain in completion percentage is offset by the marginal decrease in completion distance. The touchdown rate increase is good, but the interception rate decrease is bad. Overall, it’s the same skill set. One bizarre red flag for Pryor is the fact that he had ZERO 3+ passing TD games against relevant competition in either `09 or `10. More than 80% of quarterback prospects have at least one game with 3+ passing TDs, but not Pryor.
To make matters… more interesting, we could discuss Pryor’s off the field maturity, or his reported score of 7 on the wonderlic test. We will leave that alone though.
Two players in my database who have similar profiles to Pryor would be Joe Webb, a lesser prospect, (UAB/Vikings) and Dennis Dixon, a superior prospect (Oregon/Steelers). Do either of those names get you jazzed up?
Perhaps the most amazing part of the whole Pryor-Raiders saga is the fact that Oakland ‘forfeited’ the 78th pick in the 2012 draft when they offered a 3rd round bid on Pryor in the 2011 supplementary draft. For perspective, Russell Wilson was taken with the 75th pick, Nick Foles with the 88th, and Kirk Cousins with the 102nd. I can assure you that all three of those players grade as more promising prospects in my system.
The Raiders are giving Pryor a look on Sunday. Give him one too, if you must. It might be the first and last time he starts a game in the NFL.