Raiders should be taking hard look at Pryor

I made my case in today’s Bay Area News Group print editions that it’s a no brainer take disgraced Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the draft and worry about what position he’ll play later.

That goes for the Raiders and virtually any other team in the league, but when you get right down to it, Pryor would be a classic Al Davis pick.

Pryor’s getting bashed pretty good among talent scouts as being a reach as a quarterback. Maybe so, but a 31-4 record with two BCS bowl wins that included MVP awards is at least worth a look.

I find it remarkable so many people seem to be writing this guy off when he was so comparable to Cam Newton in terms of run-pass skill set and should come at a fraction of the cost in a supplemental draft.

And unlike Newton, Pryor has played a little receiver and looked pretty good doing it.

From what I’ve seen and heard, Pryor will be a third-round pick or later.

He’s got classic Raider speed. Talked at length with Doug Plank the former Bears’ safety who as a volunteer assistant last year with the Buckeyes. He said Pryor was the fastest player on the Ohio State roster.

Plank conceded he wasn’t sure whether Pryor’s future was at quarterback. Plank, however, played on pressure defenses with the Chicago Bears and worked Rex Ryan with the Jets and said the way to make those defenses ordinary is to get a quarterback out on the perimeter, causing them to break down and become ordinary.

Having grown up in Pennsylvania near Pryor’s home town of Jeannette, Plank is admittedly biased. But he swears by the kid despite the issues swirling around him, most of which have to do with accepting tattoos or money for memorabilia.

Pryor was one of the most celebrated recruits in the history of college football, a fearsome power forward who originally committed to Pitt on a basketball scholarship. He was fawned over by adults for years, and he’s probably finding out right now most are bailing out on him in the wake of the Ohio State investigation.

Sounds like a guy who could use a heavy dose of veteran leadership, plying his trade around players like Richard Seymour and with an energetic coach such as Hue Jackson.

He was a football-basketball star on the level of Ronald Curry, and it’s not too difficult to imagine Pryor being a super-sized Curry if quarterback didn’t work out. I don’t see Pryor as a guy who would be a regular, old-style tight end, but how about someone like Antonio Gates or Shannon Sharpe, who were essentially receivers more than they were in-line blockers.

Pryor will surely want to give quarterback a shot and he deserves at least that. But that wouldn’t mean he couldn’t be utilized in other ways. You see it happen all the time in college. Players see a faster way to the field, and are all of a sudden more receptive to a position switch because they want to contribute.

I checked with the NFL and was assured a supplemental draft can still be held, lockout or no lockout, and there’s no reason to believe Pryor won’t be given a chance to enter it.

You select Pryor for the same reason as running back Taiwan Jones _ explosive ability that is simply too intriguing to pass up at a bargain price.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer