The NFL Legal Tampering Period officially starts today. This means that teams can officially start communicating with big name free-agents that are hitting the market. Terrelle Pryor stands to be one of these free agents that will make a hefty sum of money when it’s all said and done. After having a breakout 2016 that included 77 receptions for over 1000 yards for the Cleveland Browns, Pryor is going to be highly sought after. With those kind of stats, it is easy to forget that Terrelle Pryor had never played receiver until last year. With all that he has been through, it is remarkable how far he has come.
Rewind to 2011 at The Ohio State University. Head coach Jim Tressel has resigned from his post amidst controversy involving five of his players receiving impermissible benefits. Among theses players is All-Big Ten star quarterback and Rose Bowl MVP Terrelle Pryor. An NCAA suspension and a few tough decisions later; Pryor decides to forgo his senior season and withdraws from the university in the summer of 2011. He enters into the supplemental draft, an outlet for players with special circumstances who are unable to go the traditional route. Pryor is taken in the third round by the Oakland Raiders as a duel-threat quarterback with huge upside.
Now fast forward to June 18, 2015. The Cincinnati Bengals have officially released Terrell Pryor. The Bengals are Pryor’s fourth team in two years and his future as an NFL signal-caller is looking bleak. At a crossroads, Terrell Pryor makes a career changing decision. He asks his agent to start marketing him as a wide receiver to teams. The Cleveland Browns take a chance and Pryor spends most of the 2015 season moving to and from the practice squad trying to stick. Then in training camp 2016 something clicks. Pryor consistently starts making plays and is the lone bright spot in a dreary 1-15 Browns season.
Now fast forward to the present and as it currently stands the 27 year old is poised to make a big payday. But there is still so much he must prove. Is Terrelle Pryor really an elite NFL receiver? Or is it more likely that the lack of receiving options on Cleveland’s woeful roster allowed for his success? This is the question prospective NFL teams are struggling with right now. Pryor’s initial demands for a 10 million per year price tag have already scared some teams off. In my opinion this guy is the real deal and he’s only going to get better. While he did shoulder the workload for his team, he still is a 6’4″ monster who runs the 40 in 4.3. His 140 targets last year while high were only good enough for 12th best among receivers in the league. The depth of his future success will really depend on where he ends up but don’t forget this guy put up these stats with one of the worst offenses in football. Terrelle Pryor is on the rise and he is just beginning to prove it.