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For the right price, the Vikings should take a chance on Pryor

Posted by: $author under Off the field, Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFL draft, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Visanthe Shiancoe Updated: June 8, 2011 - 11:51 PM

If you could clone Joe Webb, would you do it? At what cost?

 

If he can be had for a fifth, sixth or seventh round pick in the supplemental draft, the Vikings should absolutely take a chance on Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

 

Let me say this: the Vikings current quarterback situation is far from solved. There are a few viable candidates for the job, but neither Joe Webb nor Christian Ponder make a case for Minnesota to not add another possibility to the mix.

 

Enter the 6-foot-6, 230-plus pound quarterback who didn’t really reach his potential in college. With all of the talent Pryor had around him on offense at Ohio State, he should have won the Heisman Trophy before he left school. And he probably should have had a National Championship tucked away in the other arm too. But his Buckeyes were notorious for falling just short of the peak. They were really good, just not the best.

 

In my opinion, that had a lot to do with Pryor.

 

The Buckeyes lost four games in three years when Pryor started the game at quarterback.

 

Ohio State’s only loss in 2010 was to Wisconsin. Pryor: 14-for-28 passing, 156 yards and an interception. He added 56 yards rushing on 18 carries for a measly 3.1 yards per carry average.

 

The Buckeyes lost two games in 2009, one to USC and another to Purdue.

 

Pryor against USC: 11-for-25 passing, 177 yards and one interception. He added 36 yards rushing too.

 

Pryor against Purdue: 17-for-31 passing, 221 yards, one touchdown pass, one rushing touchdown and two interceptions.

 

In 2008, Ohio State suffered a loss against Penn State in a low-scoring affair.

 

Pryor: 16-for-25 passing, 226 yards and one interception.

 

If you were keeping track at home, that’s a 53 percent completion rate for a 195 yards per game average and a total of one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and five interceptions. 

 

Sounds pretty below average to me.

 

So why give this guy a chance?

 

Because outside of those four games, he looked pretty good against everyone else. Not Cam Newton dominant like he could have been. Maybe Jim Tressel’s pro-style/spread hybrid offense is to blame. One thing’s for sure: Pryor could have been a lot better.

 

But Pryor still had his moments. He did win Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl MVP trophies. And he averaged more than 2,000 yards passing every year and more than 630 yards rushing, topping 700 yards twice.

 

He’s a talented guy for sure. He’s just raw.

 

I wonder how scouts would compare Pryor and Webb coming out of college. Playing at a high level at a major BCS school, I would assume Pryor is further along than Webb was at this point.

 

The Mel Kiper’s and Todd McShay’s of the world have already doomed Pryor’s chances of becoming a quarterback in the NFL. Pryor does make mistakes, especially against good competition, throwing 26 interceptions in three years — which ended up being one for every 30 passes Pryor attempted in college.

 

I just can’t get past the fact that there’s a dynamic quarterback waiting to happen somewhere in the deeper recesses of that prototype.

 

This is what might be the difference for Mr. Pryor, both on and off the field: In the NFL, no one’s going to hand him anything. No free cars, no free tattoos. No one will pay him thousands of dollars to sign memorabilia if he isn’t worth anything as a player on the field.

 

He has to succeed.

 

In college he was reaping the rewards for skating by and the potential the he represented. He was good, not great. And that’s good enough for the college game and for college towns. Not for the NFL, though.

 

No one will have to forgive Pryor for his sins in college football when he gets to the NFL. They won’t have time.

 

It’s all about wins and losses, and Terrelle Pryor may learn that lesson quickly. If he does, then he is absolutely worth a fifth, sixth or seventh round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

 

Who knows if he’ll develop into a quarterback, but there’s a shot.

 

And if my math is correct, two developmental quarterbacks with high upsides and low risks is better than just one (Joe Webb). There's more potential to go around. 

 

That’s exactly what this move would represent an extremely high upside — especially with the potential for Pryor to play wide receiver or tight end — and potentially a late round pick as the only price.

 

What else are you expecting out of those final three rounds? That’s where teams like to take chances and take projects. See the Vikings’ selection of Stephen Burton in this year’s seventh round or Webb the year before in the sixth round.

 

You can’t have too many talented athletes on your team in the NFL. Minnesota is starting to stockpile them on offense — Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson, Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph.

 

Worst case scenario the Vikings have one of the more intriguing two tight-end sets in NFL history, with the pair of 6-foot-6 basketball type athletes in Rudolph and Pryor. It would take a transition. But something tells me Pryor is going to be desperate to make something of himself in the NFL.

 

What happens when you back Terrelle Pryor into a corner?

 

Maybe the Vikings should find out.

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