Raiders grab speedy Pryor in 3rd round of supplemental draft

It seems odd to be announcing a draft pick in late August, but with the CBA lockout, plus the supplemental draft being pushed back, here we are. With former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor as the only play in the draft, all eyes were on him. For the Raiders, all eyes were on the stop watch. They liked what they saw enough to snag Pryor with a third round pick.

After Pryor was declared eligible, he held his Pro Day for NFL scouts. At that Pro Day were representatives from 16 different NFL teams. Pryor went through throwing drills and the like, but the one drill most talked about was his 40 yard dash time. He was clocked at an impressive 4.38 and 4.41 in the 40 yard dash. Among quarterbacks, that puts him behind only Michael Vick for fastest in the NFL.

The problem with that is, many don’t see him as an NFL quarterback. He is seen by most as a player who will transition to receiver. At his Pro Day he said he would be willing to play any position asked of him, but he didn’t run a single route in practice or take any catches to show if he has any receiving skills.

As a receiver, his 40 time would have placed him third overall in the 2011 scouting combine, just above Julio Jones (4.39). But Jones is a proven game breaking wide receiver. Pryor has only proven he can be elusive when he tucks the ball and runs.

Any team who wanted Pryor would draft him as an athlete based almost solely on his speed. Enter the Raiders, who have been down that road before. Many times in fact.

I initially projected Pryor as a round six pick with an outside chance at round five. But then he ran his way into the heart and mind of Al Davis.

In April’s draft, the Raiders took the two fastest players in corner Demarcus Van Dyke (round three) and running back Taiwan Jones (round four).  The year before, they drafted the fastest player when they chose wide receiver Jacoby Ford (round four). Two seasons ago the team took speedy, unpolished receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey with the number seven overall pick. He had yet to show good hands and the Raiders took him with their time honored tradition of “you can’t teach speed.” That is the kind of player the Raiders are getting in Pryor.

Pryor is not an NFL quarterback. He has serious accuracy issues. Quarterbacks cannot simply be taught accuracy once they get to the pros. Either they always have it or they never do. Pryor will be moved to receiver. The Raiders will hope he can turn into a Brad Smith type player.

They certainly expect big things from him because a third round pick in the supplemental draft is a high price tag. This also leaves the Raiders without a round two, three, and four pick in the 2012 draft. They sent the round two pick to New England to move into the third round to get Joseph Barksdale, and they sent their 2012 round four pick to Washington long ago when acquiring Jason Campbell.

The Raiders will no doubt mortgage future drafts to move back into these rounds. They will have a compensatory third round pick or two for the losses of Nnamdi Asomugha and Robert Gallery as free agents. Zach Miller could bring a round four compensatory pick. All of these picks depend on how many incoming free agents the Raiders signed.

The NFL postponed the supplemental draft because they had yet to make a decision on whether Pryor was eligible or not. When it was announced that he was going to be eligible, it came with some penalties. Pryor was to be suspended the first five games of next season at Ohio State for violating NCAA rules about accepting improper benefits. The NFL imposed the same suspension on him for this season, which means he won’t even be able to suit up until week six. He can, however, practice with his teammates and play the remainder of training camp and preseason.

So now we will see if Pryor can even catch a ball or run a route — never mind the character concerns with his suspension and subsequent unwillingness to serve it at the college level. Quite a player to spend a third round pick on, but there you go. This is quite a gamble.

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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