The Seattle Seahawks raised eyebrows around the league this offseason when they traded a seventh-round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders for former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. It wasn’t so much the fact that Seattle was in the market for a backup quarterback that intrigued people. Instead, it was the player they targeted which was heavily scrutinized.
Certainly no one will argue Pryor has immense physical ability. However, there has been much debate as to whether or not he fits the mold of an NFL quarterback. Many former scouts and NFL Draft pundits openly acknowledged the former Heisman-finalist’s athletic abilities but felt he would be much better served by a position change — possibly to tight end.
At this time, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have openly stated that they have no intention of asking Pryor to change positions. Pryor himself has been adamant about his desire to compete as a quarterback as well, so there is no saying whether he would go for it anyway. That means the backup quarterback job is basically a three-man race between Pryor, incumbent backup Tarvaris Jackson and undrafted rookie free agent Keith Price.
With hefty contracts being handed out to several key players this offseason, it seems likely Jackson will become a cap casualty. Seattle would be able to keep Price and Pryor for less money than Jackson would command by himself. Unfortunately, it also seems unlikely that Seattle keeps three quarterbacks on their final 53-man roster.
So it would seem coach Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have some curious decisions to make this summer. Pryor and Price each bring a vastly different skill set to the fold. Pryor of course has more time in the league and was fortunate enough to start several games during his tenure in Oakland.
While Pryor didn’t play well enough to secure his future with the Raiders, he did manage to acquire a semi-cult-like following with his extraordinary scrambling abilities and charismatic nature. His greatest visible quality to date has been his ability to escape pressure and make plays with his legs. However, most NFL coaches agree that while the ability to scramble from the pocket can be effective, it can also lead to unnecessary injury and inopportune turnovers.
This is the center of Pryor’s issues as an NFL quarterback. He must learn to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball downfield in rhythm. Pryor must also do a better job of going through his progressions instead of scrambling when his first option is covered.
However, despite his current shortcomings, Pryor offers a unique blend of size and speed measuring in at 6-foot-4 and 233-pounds while capable of running an astounding 4.38 second 40-yard dash. Couple that with the fact that he started 10 NFL games over the past two seasons, managing 1,900-plus passing yards and nine passing touchdowns, as well as rushing for over 600 yards and three additional scores.
Clearly Pryor is an unbelievable talent, albeit a raw one. However, his upside might make him the No. 2 quarterback in Seattle, particularly if the early rumors from OTAs stating Pryor has had a breakthrough are true. Though Seattle only spent a seventh-round draft pick to acquire him, Coach Carroll will likely want to keep him around for at least one season with an eye towards developing him further.