Terrelle Pryor was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft. It was the late Al Davis’ last draft pick for a franchise that he ran for half a century. His last pick was the perfect story book ending to his great career. Selecting Pryor with a 3rd round pick not only fit Davis’ mold of targeting the biggest and fastest players, but by selecting him so high he proved once again that he only cared about one opinion and one opinion only, his. That was last year though, and this year the Raiders find themselves with new management and a new agenda for building this team. Where Pryor fits into those plans, will likely be determined by his development over the next couple of seasons.
Because last years supplemental draft wasn’t until August 22nd, Pryor did not get much practice time with the team in training camp. He also faced a 5 game suspension to begin his first NFL season for his violations of NCAA policy in college. While this is technically Pryor’s second season with the Raiders, it is his first training camp and will be his first live game action in almost 2 full calendar years (20 months). Not to be forgotten though is Hue Jackson’s attempt at trickery when he lined Pryor up as a wide receiver in a game last season against the Kansas City Chiefs, and had him motion under center to take the snap and sneak the ball. However, the play was blown dead because Pryor did not get set for a full second before the snap.
Terrelle has had an up and down camp in 2012 to this point. He has certainly showed his arm strength and excellent athleticism at times, but he has been unable to maintain any type of consistency throwing from the pocket. Coach Allen has said that he is pleased with Pryor’s work and that he just has to continue to “get better each day”. With Pryor being the third quarterback on the depth chart, he should be able to relax and play without any added pressure at this point.
Come game time game time Pryor should see plenty of snaps as the 3rd quarterback. His first game action will be much-anticipated by fans and coaches alike, but expectations need to be tempered. Pryor needs to first focus on a few very important tools that all good quarterbacks need to possess which include footwork, pocket presence, and route progression. Pryor will need to first prove he can throw from the pocket effectively before he begins to put his athleticism to good use.
Look for Pryor’s first few passes to be quick reads and short routes to him try to establish a rhythm and get into the flow of the game. Knapp might dial-up a few bootlegs as well to get him outside the pocket where he is often times more comfortable right now. Stats should not be a concern in this game. The main thing is that Pryor begins to build his confidence by making smart decisions and avoiding turnovers. He has fumbled a few snaps in training camp, and will need to avoid those types of mistakes tonight.
There is no doubt Pryor has the talent that can electrify a stadium, but he will need to take the small steps necessary to become a better all around quarterback if he plans to remain at that position long-term. Don’t think he won’t turn it loose though if he is given a lane to run, according to Mike Mitchell, Pryor can “run like a deer”.