It’s hard to fathom that Terrelle Pryor has become the heart and soul of the Oakland Raiders after just three starts this season. While Pryor’s detractors have continued to say that Pryor does not have an NFL caliber arm or pocket poise, Pryor has shown that he is capable of being a solid quarterback in this league. What makes Pryor’s performance this year so remarkable is that he has been playing with the worst offensive line in the league, no running game and inconsistent wide receivers. Matt Flynn horrific game against the Washington Redskins proved that Pryor was the reason the Raiders offense has looked half way decent this season.
Although Pryor’s lack of arm strength will prevent him from becoming a gunslinger in the NFL, he has what it takes to become a great system quarterback. It was not that long ago that a mobile quarterback with a weak arm led the Raiders to greatness. It took Rich Gannon years to find a full time starting gig because many felt that he couldn’t be an effective quarterback with mediocre arm strength. What made Gannon so lethal was his ability to make plays on the run and his familiarity with the west coast offense. While Pryor might not ever live up to great Rich Gannon, Pryor does have a similar skill set.
All great quarterback’s thrive under an offensive system that is designed around their strengths. Offensive coordinator Greg Olsen only had a week or two to design a system that played to Pryor’s strengths. Pryor has looked more comfortable in the system in every game he has played so far this season. While Pryor put up a great week one performance against the Colts, his two errant interceptions cost the Raiders a victory. In his next two games, Pryor has did not throw an interception and seemed to make better decisions in the pocket.
Terrelle Pryor is the most dangerous running quarterback in NFL history (Yup I said it!). Now that Michael Vick apologists across the globe have jumped out of their seats for saying such blasphemy, I will explain why Pryor is more dangerous than Vick. Although Vick was a lick faster than Pryor in his prime (Vick ran a 4.33 40-yard dash compared to Pryor’s 4.38 40-yard dash) Pryor is 4 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Vick. Obviously Vick has a much stronger arm than Pryor which made defenses focus on the pass more than they wanted to. However, in the open field Pryor is able to stiff arm and run over chasing defenders which is something Vick could not do. Even though Pryor missed last week’s game, he is still projected to rush for 990 yards rushing this season. Vick only rushed for over 1000 yards in a season once and he had a whole offense built around his running style.
What makes Pryor such an exciting prospect for the Oakland Raiders is Pryor’s desire to become great. Not many players have the “it” factor that Pryor has. Everyone who has come across Pryor in the NFL has stated that Pryor has put in hard work in the film room and in the weight room. Pryor also has the innate desire to win every game he plays which can only rub off on the rest of the downtrodden franchise.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie must build the team around Pryor this off-season. Now that the Raiders are out of salary cap hell, they will have around 70 million dollars to bring in new talent. The first order of business should be to bring in at least two all-pro caliber offensive lineman to help anchor the offense. McKenzie should also draft a replacement for the oft-injured McFadden and sign a veteran go-to wide receiver. Although McKenzie was brought on board to help find the quarterback of the future, it looks as though Al Davis’ final draft pick Terrelle Pryor might be the answer to the Raiders quarterback problems.