By Will Robinson

So. Terrelle Pryor, what’s up with that? Surely by now, you have heard the electric dual threat Ohio State quarterback has decided to part from the school’s football program. Pryor has been one of the most exciting players in the Big Ten the last few years, and his departure tears another hole in Ohio St.’s program, now without a tenured head coach or a star quarterback.

Hey, I’m an NFL guy. Compared to the pros, college football is not much more than minor leagues to me. I care more about how Player A will perform after being drafted than how he can lead their team to a Poinsettia Chrysler Trojan Bowl victory.

During the lockout, it’s been hard for an outsider to weigh on the legal battle beyond saying, “it’s bad, and I just want football to start so I can sit in front my TV for nine hours every Sunday!” I mean, I’m in that camp, but I’d rather do without beating a dead horse. So Pryor is an excuse to talk hypothetical NFL.

Pryor stated he has every intention of jumping to the NFL and ignoring the CFL. He seems to be banking on a team risking a 2012 draft pick on a quarterback with questionable intangibles in the supplemental draft (should one take place): a misplaced thought. With Commissioner Roger Goodell cracking down on good-decision-challenged players, the calculated risk would have to be relatively small, say a fourth round pick, maybe a third. Surely some team would be willing to pay a higher price for an athlete of Pryor’s ability; there is no doubt he is a physical specimen. But how did the last physically insane quarterback do when drafted highly? Selling and drinking a Jolly Rancher/codeine concoction at 300 pounds, way past his playing weight. The jury is clearly out on Cam Newton, as he has yet to play a snap.

So why is Pryor hesitant to go to the CFL? The obvious claim would be exposure. Clearly, the CFL is not very popular stateside, but he would still be noticed. Ricky Williams broke through on SportsCenter even though he was up with the Argonauts. That’s not a problem. The NFL does not ignore the CFL either; Cameron Wake would like to speak out to the rumor that the CFL has no pipeline to the NFL. Pryor going big or going home for the NFL and ignoring all of his options is a terrible idea.

Sweet ride!Pryor may be disillusioned about the money that will roll in. It may from some sponsors, but it will take a lot of work for him to prove he is franchise quarterback worthy and marketable to the NFL customers (he doesn’t need a car sponsorship! Too soon?) He is hardly the poster boy for good choices. From what I have seen with him, he doesn’t carry himself like Cam Newton does. For all his controversy, Newton was called a great leader by his Auburn teammates, and his personality jumps off the camera. I haven’t read anything from former Buckeye teammates standing up for ol’ Terrelle.

The dissolved Players Union is fighting for hundreds of millions from the owners for its players. A supplemental pick/CFL walk-on/UFL walk-on would be at the bottom of the totem pole and is constantly critiqued; he’s the Private Gomer Pyle of prospective quarterbacks. The only way his situation COULD be worse is if he was a DIII quarterback of similar physical ability who killed dogs and was kicked out of school. Well, at least someone like that COULD go on Oprah to tell how he’s a changed man. Pryor’s alleged indiscretions are completely self-serving, and not even George Lopez would touch him now.

Here’s why anything but the NFL would be a good first choice for Pryor: development. Pryor could be the starter in the UFL or the CFL in a – the words of death for college quarterbacks – “pro system,” while working out the kinks in his mechanics. They would treat him like the future of their franchise and work to develop him, and if he played for a previously employed NFL coach like Jim Fassel or Denny Green, Pryor’s acclimation to the pros would be off to a sound start. In the NFL? Pryor would have to work his way up the depth chart with only a limited amount of reps. When/if he makes the leap, he needs to lands in the right scenario.

By my count, after the last draft, there are five teams that do not have a possible long-term quarterback: Washington, Buffalo, Miami, Arizona, Oakland, and Seattle. Arizona seems to be in the market for a Kolb or an Orton, so that would leave it to four teams. There is too much dysfunction in Washington for Pryor to succeed, even though Pryor could do well in a Mike Shanahan offense. Chan Gailey would be all over Pryor, but I don’t see how his job is secure two years into his contract. Tony Sparano was almost axed last year and they are giving Chad Henne another year, so that is a volatile scenario. Seattle thinks they have something in Charlie Whitehurst, but I don’t see it; they pass on Pryor. Oakland is always crazy. Who knows what Al Davis will do? My guess is that they are a little concerned about non-traditional quarterbacks, even though they wouldn’t be as financially invested in Pryor as they were in Russell. My two teams that need a quarterback, should they need one and would go for Pryor, would be Arizona (strong structure in place with Wisenhunt and co.) or Oakland (why not). But honestly, the pressure of being a franchise savior would probably do more harm than good.

Pryor needs an organization that will bring him along slowly and needs an NFL redshirted year. Even though I went through teams that need a quarterback for the future, the best scenario will be a stable franchise, like how the Patriots drafted Ryan Mallett. The teams that need Pryor aren’t the same as the team Pryor needs. It would be a humbling situation for him, and he could learn from a great quarterback in the league. If he ends up bouncing around system to system, team to team, he could become another Jason Campbell: a player who showed all the ability, but was never given the chance to grow into one role.

Were they worth it, Terrelle?Who knows what will happen to Terrelle Pryor. He may eventually change his legacy to good/great NFL quarterback from what it is now. So here’s the plan, Terrelle: get in the UFL, work under Fassel or Green, then AFTER you’ve proved yourself worthy of the NFL’s consideration, sign with someone who doesn’t need to you start right away. Boom, there ya go. Right now, he’s acting like D’Angelo Barksdale in “The Wire”, but only if D decided he would be better off working with Orlando and getting in deeper and deeper with The Game instead of trying to get out of it. D alienated his family to serve his 20 years and to try and go legit, but Pryor left Ohio State so he can market himself  and play football without getting in trouble. He didn’t make things right with his school. So until he gets a shot in the pros, he needs to work every day to duck the image that he was bigger than Ohio St. and didn’t play by the same rules. Until then, he needs to work his ass off and prove he is more than the man who traded jerseys for tattoos. I don’t think Peyton Manning ever did that.

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