Posted by Ryan Wilson
It's been a tough few weeks for Ohio State football. Head coach Jim Tressel resigned amid allegations of wrongdoing, and shortly thereafter quarterback Terrelle Pryor left school, presumably to avoid further NCAA sanctions.
It wasn't long after Tressel's departure that we started hearing he could coach again, maybe even in the NFL. Pryor, on the other hand, doesn't appear to have many professional options. At least ones that include making a living playing football.
It's unclear what Pryor's next move will be, but the NFL's supplemental draft is one possibility. The allure of millions is tempting, but here's to hoping someone in Pryor's camp is living in reality. Because if the early reports are any indication, Pryor's not considered much of a quarterback prospect, and at least one NFL front-office type had doubts about Pryor's character.
“We spent a lot of time this year going through Cam Newton (notes) and Ryan Mallett’s (notes) personality,” an NFC general manager told Yahoo.com's Jason Cole. “I haven’t done all my homework on Pryor yet, but my initial impression is that if you line all three of them up and just talked about trust and reliability, Pryor is dead last. Like not-even-out-of-the-starting-gate last. And it’s probably only going to get worse.”.
Doesn't leave much room for interpretation. Ryan Mallet was once considered a first-round talent but the dreaded "off-the-field concerns" saw him plummet to Round 3 before Bill Belichick and the Patriots took a flyer on him.
An NFL coach echoed many of the same worries. “The more you read about this guy with the cars and the tattoos and money and all that other stuff … Look, we all know how the college game works and what those [coaches] have to deal with, but this kid sounds like he didn’t give a damn about anybody. He was just there for himself. He didn’t even try to hide it. He flaunted it. If you’re like that, it’s hard to be a quarterback.”
There are a lot of places on an NFL team that you can hide character flaws and personality defects. Terrell Owens has made a handsome living despite his notoriously divisive locker room presence. Antonio Cromartie has at least nine kids by eight women, and isn't much on tackling, but he played without incident for the Jets last year.
Teams don't have such luxuries at quarterback. It's the one position you can ill-afford to have a mental case -- or worse: a flake. And we haven't even gotten into Pryor's physical shortcomings as a quarterback. “I’ve viewed him as a wide receiver prospect more than a quarterback prospect,” ESPN's Todd McShay said on a conference call. “I think he’s so far off in terms of decision-making, being comfortable in the pocket, being able to go through the progression reads, with his mechanics and consistent accuracy from where you need to be as a quarterback." McShay's colleague Mel Kiper thinks Pryor's path to the NFL is as a tight end.
Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow faced similar questions about his ability when he was at Florida. The difference: his character was unimpeachable and his leadership skills were indisputable.
Still, Pryor has alternatives to the supplemental draft, which is currently on hold because of the labor situation. As CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz wrote Tuesday, Pryor could transfer to another FBS school and have to sit out a year, transfer to an FCS (or lower) school and play immediately, or hone his talents in the CFL or UFL.
But unless Pryor undergoes a complete transformation -- both between the ears and in terms of physical talents -- his NFL future looks decidedly dim.
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