Terrelle Pryor, or why the Raiders are a disaster

Pryor is coming off the bench this week to start for the Raiders. How much longer until he takes a seat again?

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

Pass attempts/game:

  • 2009-  22.1
  • 2010-  24.8

Completion percentage:

  • 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.

The Impending Tyler Bray Debacle

Why Tyler Bray will get lost in the shuffle. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Tennessee’s Junior Quarterback Tyler Bray has reportedly declared for the NFL Draft.  Here’s why this decision is a total disaster for him and the NFL team that selects him.  We’ll look through three lenses:

– The 2012 Season alone

– His evolution from 2011 to 2012

– His performance in the ”Separation Six”

The 2012 Season

When I run Bray’s 2012 schedule-adjusted (SA) performance through my system, he grades out as a 73.8  (a 95+ score is the potentially-elite cutoff).  For historical comparison, the two players who appear immediately ABOVE him in my database are JP Losman (75.5) and Derek Anderson (74.1).  I bet you’re really excited to see those names!

Bray has two things going for him.  First is the frame of an NFL quarterback (6′ 6”).  Second is the regularity with which he throws touchdown passes in relevant games, with five 2+ Passing TD games in seven relevant outings (71%).  But, as we dig deeper, we see that his SA completion percentage of  54.1% just doesn’t cut, nor does his SA 1.5 interceptions per game.

His Evolution from 2011 to 2012

In any prospect, you want to see continued growth throughout their college career.  This is the ‘upside’ that you hear about when hearing player analysis.  To see a player level off over their last two years of college indicates that they’ve hit their ceiling and are a limited prospect.  As a perfect example, look at Brandon Weeden.  The 28 year old Oklahoma State quarterback was knocked for ‘having limited upside’ and was labeled as ‘he is what he is at this age.’  To numerically confirm that, Weeden performed quite well in both his 2010 and 2011 seasons, but his performance was almost identical in both years, indicating that there was no room for growth at age 28.

For Tyler Bray, his performance has not only plateaued when comparing 2011 to 2012, but in some metrics he has performed worse:

  • He turned in 2+ Passing TD games with the same frequency in relevant games
  • He averaged 3 fewer passing attempts in relevant games
  • He completed 6% fewer passes in relevant games
  • His yards per completion went from 12.1  to 12.2, a minor positive
  • He threw touchdowns 11% less frequently
  • He threw interceptions 68% more frequently

If nothing else, we can agree that things are certainly not heading up, as a developing prospect should be?

The Separation Six

If we look at the six toughest defenses Bray faced over the past two years (as a proxy for facing NFL defenses) his performance falls flat on its face.  Considering that Bray missed part of 2011 with an injury, we’ll tip the scale slightly toward 2012 and examine four games from this season and two games from last.

Bray’s average stat line in these games:

18/ 35  227 yards  1.5 TD  1.5 INT

When crunched through my formula, he grades out at a 68.  To understand where that ranks him with recent prospects, consider these player’s performance in the Separation Six

Andrew Luck:  110.4

RG3:  95.7

Andy Dalton:  92.6

Nick Foles: 87.3

Brandon Weeden: 82

Tyler Bray: 68

Tyler Bray is simply not ready for the NFL.  All of these quarterbacks should/would come off the board before him (in no order)  Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Geno Smith, Bryn Renner, AJ McCarron, to name a few.  I might roll the dice on him in Round 4, but anything before that would be a mistake for everyone involved.  You should have stayed in school, Tyler.

Observations– 30 August 2012

South Carolina 17- Vanderbilt 13

South Carolina’s offensive and defensive lines were dominant.  Jordan Rodgers was under pressure all night and Vanderbilt’s defense just couldn’t get a stop.  QB Shaw and RB Lattimore led the attack for the Gamecocks who overpowered their way to an early season, nailbiting win.  It’s interesting to see Spurrier ‘just win’ games.  It seems like he is content to win ugly, which is completely necessary in the SEC.  The SC defense certainly passes the eye test but it will be itneresting to see if the offense can produce against the better SEC teams.

In an unrelated note, Connor Shaw reminds me of Forrest Gump when he runs.

Jordan Matthews looked good.  The SEC has graduated a lot of receiving talent in recent years (AJ Green, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffery, Randall Cobb, Rueben Randle) and it will be interesting to see who steps up to be among the SEC’s best receivers.  Da’rick Rogers (Tenn) was the obvious choice but with his recent transgressions it looks like an open race.  Matthews flashed in the second quarter after hauling in a mid range pass and turning on the jets to take it for a touchdown.  He hauled in 8 balls for 147 yards and 1 td, but had a drop on a critical 3rd and long play.  For Vandy fans, the game will be most remembered for the non-call on an obvious pass interference play involving Matthews late in the game.

The ‘Dores proved that they’re headed in the right direction.  After falling behind 10-0 early, it would have been easy to go away quietly.  They held tough, took a lead, and were a play or two from pulling the huge upset of #9 ranked South Carolina.  Kudos to the job that James Franklin is doing.

BYU 30- Washington St 6

Washington State looked out of synch all night.  The pace of play was slow in the early going and they never seemed to get into a rythm.  Once they fell behind, BYU’s offensive and defensive lines just wore them down.  Wazzu does have some players, but overall they’re too thin, especially where it counts; in the trenches.

Riley Nelson is completely average.  The 25-36, 285 yds, 2TDs line looks great, but Nelson had a clean pocket all night and a helpful running game.  I was curious to watch him because BYU has had a good string of quarterbacks in the past decade.  However, Nelson’s 2011 season graded outside my top 40 QB ratings for last season and this game proved why.  Against a team with a better defensive line, BYU’s offense will struggle.

Friendly reminder:  Because BYU players often go on mission trips and then come back to play football, they have guys that are 23-25 years old starting for them, which gives them a few extra years to physically mature.  Their lines looked overpowering last night.

What is BYU’s motivation?  They’re not Notre Dame, but they made the choice to go independent last season.  I don’t think they’ll ever be a national title contender.  They have no conference and no place.  They’re a nice team, but I can’t help but wonder in what framework their goals exist.