Three reasons why Pryor was worth the risk for Raiders (and three reasons why he wasn’t)

Ohio State University quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) runs the ball against Eastern Michigan University during the second quarter of their NCAA football game in Columbus, Ohio September 25, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The Oakland Raiders selected former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor with a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft. Seeing as how they now don’t own a second, third or fourth round pick in 2012, it was quite a gamble for Al Davis and his franchise.

But here are three reasons why Pryor was worth the gamble for Oakland (and three reasons why he wasn’t).

1. Don’t get fixated on the third-round compensation.
No, the Raiders currently don’t own a second, third or fourth-round pick for 2012. But they also just lost cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and tight end Zach Miller via free agency so chances are they’ll recoup that third round pick when the NFL hands out compensatory selections next year. In fact, there’s a good possibility that Oakland will receive a third and a fourth-round pick for next year’s draft. That doesn’t mean that the Raiders should just give away their draft picks, but that’s not what they did. In Pryor, they landed a gifted athlete with plenty of potential…

2. …Pryor is a gifted athlete with plenty of potential.
Pryor is raw as a quarterback prospect but there’s no auguring how good of an athlete he is (which is why Al Davis was so attracted to him). He ran in the sub 4.4-range at his recent pro day and if he doesn’t make it as a QB, he has the quickness and body control to potentially become a receiver at the next level. As of right now, the Raiders don’t have any quarterback on the roster signed through next season. That includes Jason Campbell, who becomes a free agent at the end of the year. Even though Pryor will miss the first five games this season due to a suspension, he gives Oakland the developmental quarterback that their roster currently lacks.

3. The reward could outweigh the risk.
As it stands right now, this isn’t a move that will set the Raiders back for years to come. In the end, all they gave up was a third round pick that they’ll probably get back next year anyway thanks to Asomugha’s decision to sign with the Eagles. If Pryor winds up being a starting quarterback in Oakland, all it would have cost the Raiders up front was a third-round pick. That’s also third-round quarterback money, which is nothing. On the flip side, if doesn’t pan out at quarterback, the Raiders could still try him at receiver. If he flames out there, then hey, at least they didn’t give up a No. 1 overall selection (eh, JaMarcus?).


1. Davis’ meddling could turn this situation into a problem.
The only reason why JaMarcus Russell wasn’t cut sooner is because Al Davis was still infatuated by the bust’s physical tools. Pryor has a long ways to go before he steps foot on a NFL field as a starting quarterback and if Davis meddles with Hue Jackson’s development of the youngster, then things could turn ugly. As previously mentioned, the Raiders don’t have any quarterback signed through 2012, so Davis could force Jackson to make Pryor the starter next year if he really wanted to. Just like he did with Russell, if Davis wants to see a player on the field there’s really nothing to stand in his way (including his head coach). Pryor needs time to develop and if Davis rushes him, then I take back what I wrote about this move not setting the Raiders back for years to come.

2. Pryor has some major flaws as a passer.
Personally, I think Pryor is a better thrower than his critics give him credit for. But that doesn’t mean I think he’ll be a good quarterback (big difference). For starters, his footwork and accuracy are his two biggest issues right now, which are two things that will leave a NFL quarterback looking for work. He also wasn’t forced to go through his progressions a lot in Jim Tressell’s offense, so we don’t even know if this kid can read a defense yet. At Ohio State, Pryor was often at his best when the play broke down and he could use his athletic ability to make something happen. But in the NFL, everybody is athletic. It’s a faster game and Pryor will die a quick death if he tries to get by on his athletic ability alone.

3. Oakland isn’t exactly a great support structure.
There have been plenty reports about Pryor’s lack of maturity while at Ohio State and look no further than “TattooGate” for a glimpse at his decision-making off the field. With that in mind, it’s a little unnerving that he’s headed off to one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the NFL. One of the biggest reasons why Michael Vick is considered a MVP candidate again is because he wound up in Philadelphia under Andy Reid. Granted, Hue Jackson is a good man. He deserved the opportunity to become a head coach and he may work wonders with a kid like Pryor. But Al Davis simply can’t stay away. Again, if he meddles in Jackson’s work with Pryor then this whole thing could blow up in Oakland’s face. Teams should always view third-round picks as potential starters or else why draft them? It’s not until the fourth and later rounds where teams build their depth. So even though it’s important “not to get fixated on the third-round compensation,” the Raiders still need this guy to pan out or else what’s the point? After all, this wasn’t a seventh-round flier. This was a third-round pick.

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