This month, we've been sharing in-depth scouting reports on each of the Jets' free agent signings. Today we move on to look at wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.
The 28-year-old Pryor is listed at 6-foot-4, 228 pounds, and was drafted in the third round of the 2011 Supplemental Draft. After struggling to make it as a quarterback with the Oakland Raiders, Pryor eventually converted to wide receiver and had a breakout thousand-yard season in 2016. He signed for Washington before the 2017 season, but struggled with injuries and ended up with just 20 receptions in nine games.
Pryor was a highly sought-after recruit in high school and ended up going to Ohio State where he passed for over 6,000 yards and 57 touchdowns in three seasons, while also rushing for 2,000 yards and 17 more touchdowns. In 2010, he was the runner-up for the Big Ten Player of the Year award to Denard Robinson. However, off-field controversies led to him leaving the program and making himself eligible for the 2011 Supplemental Draft.
With his size and athleticism, Pryor drew comparisons to Vince Young and the Oakland Raiders opted to use a third round pick to acquire him.
After he sat on the bench for the majority of his rookie year, Pryor made his first NFL start in 2012 and then started nine games in 2013, winning three. He passed for 1,798 yards and seven touchdowns but only completed 57 percent of his passes and threw 11 interceptions. Pryor also rushed for 576 yards and two touchdowns with two 100-yard games and an NFL-record 93-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper.
Unfortunately, Pryor didn't show enough promise as a quarterback to guarantee himself an NFL future. He was traded to Seattle for a late-round pick, but failed to make their roster and ended up not signing for a team in 2014 after they released him in final cuts.
In 2015, he signed a futures deal with the Chiefs, but they cut him in May and then he lasted just five weeks with the Bengals before announcing that he was converting to wide receiver full-time having signed with the Browns.
It looked like his career might be over when he initially failed to make their roster, but he was re-signed at the end of the 2015 season and showed a glimpse of potential, catching a 42-yard pass for his only reception.
In 2016, Pryor was a revelation, catching 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a fifth touchdown.
At the end of the season, he signed a one-year deal for $6 million plus incentives in Washington and he started well with six catches for 66 yards in his first game. However, he suffered an ankle injury in week two and that bothered him until they put him on injured reserve in November. He caught just 14 passes for less than 200 yards in his other eight games last season.
Let's move onto some further analysis of what Pryor brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Pryor has tremendous size. He's over an inch and a half taller than any other receiver on the Jets roster and has almost 40 pounds on the next tallest, Robby Anderson.
He also has tremendous speed. At his pro day, he was officially timed at 4.38 for the 40-yard dash. That speed translates to the field as you can see here:
Pryor also has a good vertical jump, as evidenced by some of the highlights from his basketball career. Again, he's shown this on the field with his ability to high-point catches.
Pryor mostly plays on the outside but has had some good success when he's been moved into the slot with both Cleveland and Washington, which he did about 10-15 percent of the time. The Jets could opt to use him in that role down in the red zone, as they did with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in Chan Gailey's old system.
Pryor played occasionally as a wildcat quarterback with the Browns in the first six games of the 2016 season but hasn't done so since. He completed five of nine passes for 41 yards and rushed eight times for 21 yards and a touchdown in that role.
With his speed Pryor is able to get downfield well but it's his size that makes him an effective deep threat. He's very difficult to move off his route and can challenge for a jump ball.
Here, he burns Marcus Peters easily for a touchdown:
Pryor's route-running ability is the most surprising thing about watching his film. He's surprisingly smooth in and out of his breaks, technically sound at the line of scrimmage and capable of stopping on a dime. He seemed to have success on a variety of different routes too.
Here, he executes a slant route perfectly, using a jab step to the outside to get Darrelle Revis off balance:
He wasn't just feasting on washed-up veterans though. Pryor also gave a good account of himself in a match-up with Josh Norman.
Pryor has a 57 percent catch rate for his career which is acceptable for a player who not only goes deep quite often, but also had to deal with some pretty bad quarterback play during parts of that 2016 season that accounts for the majority of his career targets.
As noted, Pryor is capable of going up to high-point a ball. He's also adept at hanging on in traffic and making sideline catches with both feet inbounds. He can also make one-handed catches, which he demonstrates here:
Pryor's drop numbers are acceptable. The most he's had in a season is six and that was when he was targeted over 130 times. Most of his drops seem to be like this one where the ball was thrown too high or slightly behind him:
He's only fumbled once since the move to wide receiver. As a quarterback he fumbled seven times.
Yards after the catch
Pryor obviously possesses the ability to break tackles and make yardage with the ball in space because he showed those abilities when he was a dual threat quarterback.
Since moving to wide receiver, he hasn't generated as much yardage after the catch as you'd like and he hasn't broken many tackles. However, as his comfort level in his role grows, maybe he can start to turn upfield and transition into being a runner more fluently to unlock even more potential than he's shown so far.
He does show flashes of ability in this area and even when he doesn't break a tackle, his size alone often leads to him getting a few extra yards just by falling forwards. Here he shows the ability to slip a tackle and break into the open field:
Pryor should give the Jets a boost in the red zone. All five of his touchdowns in 2016 came from in the red zone, while Josh McCown only threw seven in total last year, with only three from inside the 10.
He shows his ability to go over two defenders on this play:
Blocking wouldn't be something Pryor would have a lot of experience with either, but with his size, he can get in the way of smaller defensive backs pretty effectively on the outside and his effort seems sound.
Here's a bad missed block though, showing a deficiency in technique and anticipation, perhaps:
He was called for one holding penalty last season, the first of his career.
Aside from his efforts as a blocker and finishing runs as a ball carrier, Pryor is able to use his size to good effect in the passing game. He's able to create natural separation by boxing defenders out, making him a useful possession option. 15 of his 20 catches last year went for first downs.
His size and physicality also comes in handy at the point of the catch as he's able to outmuscle defensive backs for contested catches:
Despite having a reputation in some circles as a guy who pushes off "all the time", Pryor only has one offensive pass interference penalty in his career.
As a former quarterback, special teams hasn't been something Pryor has done so far in his career and it's unlikely he'll start doing so at this stage.
Pryor's experience at quarterback has helped him in the conversion to wide receiver. He says he does a lot more study time than most wide receivers and basically has a photographic memory which enables him to learn plays and formations quicker and with more familiarity than most people. Cody Kessler actually credited with Pryor helping to mentor him as a young quarterback while he was playing receiver.
Pryor can be prone to mental lapses from time to time, though. He jumped offside five times in 2016 alone. He scored 21 on the wonderlic test at his pro day.
Pryor is said to love the game and is hard-working, competitive, a good teammate and has been praised for his toughness.
That said, he has admitted he will sometimes get fired up and shout at his teammates or jaw with opposing players and he has been called for three personal fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct since he converted to wide receiver. To be fair, one of those was because he didn't realize you couldn't use the ball as a prop on a touchdown celebration because it was his first time he'd scored since three years earlier when that rule didn't exist.
Pryor definitely seems to have matured and seems unlikely to be a bad teammate on the 2018 Jets. He's courted controversy in the past - a disorderly conduct citation in high school, a suspension for selling memorabilia and then more trouble for driving with a suspended licence in college and an argument with a heckler in the NFL - but seems to be all-business these days.
Pryor's size, potential to create mismatches and even his abilities to mentor the Jets' collection of young receivers could all come in handy this season. There's more about how he might be used here.
If nothing else, Pryor should have good chemistry with Josh McCown. In the five games where McCown played in 2016, Pryor caught 25 passes for 409 yards.
Pryor injured his ankle in week two last year and tried to battle through it but struggled to produce so he opted for season-ending surgery in November.
While playing quarterback he had to deal with a concussion and a strained MCL back in 2013.
In Cleveland, he earned the respect of his team by playing through a finger injury and a hamstring issue. He also made some headlines last year by calling out an opponent for a low hit, stating that he'd rather defenders hit him high than go for his knees.
With uncertainty over whether Quincy Enunwa will be as good as he was pre-injury and concern over Anderson's availability with injuries hanging over him, it made some sense to bring in a fourth established target to go along with those two and Jermaine Kearse.
The downside is that the Jets have a lot of young receivers who have shown flashes but not quite stepped up to prove they can be a starter-level performer so far. It's going to be difficult for any of those players to get enough reps to realize their potential if the top four are able to remain on the field.
Pryor, however, adds a dimension to the Jets receiving corps that should make their passing game more formidable than last year (although adding a productive tight end would go a long way towards doing that too).
If he can stay healthy, that gives the Jets four players any of whom could theoretically rack up somewhere in the region of a thousand yards in the passing game if they get a full-time role. However, as 2017 showed, if Pryor is banged up again, that might hurt his production.