In the Oakland Raiders' 2013 preseason finale, quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw for 31 yards on three completions and ran for 48 yards on three attempts in a 22-6 win for Seattle. Though Pryor's effort wasn't impressive enough to come close to helping the Raiders get the win, the quarterback seemed to make an impact on the defending Super Bowl champions. On Monday evening, the Seahawks announced that they had traded a 2014 seventh-round pick to Oakland for Pryor, who is in the last year of his rookie contract. The Raiders, who acquired quarterback Matt Schaub this offseason, were planning to release Pryor if no trade offers were forthcoming.
"Terrelle is an incredibly explosive athlete and we're excited for him to come in and compete," general manager John Schneider said in a statement.
Referring to Pryor as a "athlete" has some wondering if the Seahawks have it in mind to convert Pryor to an H-back or receiver role, which was a point of discussion among some NFL teams when he was selected by Oakland in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft. Pryor had left the Ohio State team after it was discovered that he was part of the memorabilia-for-cash scandal that cost then-head coach Jim Tressel his job. When Pryor entered the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for his first five games -- the same suspension he would have received had he stayed with the Buckeyes.
Pryor didn't attempt a pass in his first NFL regular season, and completed just 14 of 30 passes for 155 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in 2012. Last season, he was given the opportunity to take the Raiders' starting job, but lost it to Matt McGloin late in the season. He ended his third NFL campaign with 156 completions in 272 attempts for 1,798 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 picks.
Of course, what makes Pryor intriguing to NFL teams after all this time (the 49ers were also involved in trade talks) it his pure athleticism. Last season, he gained 576 yards on just 83 carries, including a 93-yard run that was the longest anyone in the league had in 2013.
I talked to Pryor after that preseason game in Seattle, and he seemed to have a pretty good head on his shoulders about how far he had to go as a quarterback, and how things played out for him in college.
“Accuracy, and timing with receivers,” he said of the things he was learning. “I think I’ve definitely gotten better with that. Making strides. Today, I threw one to Rod [Streater], and he wasn’t even out of his break yet. That’s just throwing with timing and understanding where he’s going to be. What I did badly today? Throwing that pick. I was late [on the throw], and that’s something that can’t happen. We were moving the ball, and got three points two times, and I believe we could have kept it moving on the first drive. We’ve just got to make that play.”
He sounded less certain about the NCAA's motives, though he's hardly the only person with that problem these days. “At the end of the day, it’s their world,” he said. “They get to choose and set the rules. All I can do is speak for myself. I broke rules, and I paid for it. I made those mistakes when I was 18. I took it as a man, and I’m moving on.”