LOS ANGELES — Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, a controversial Oakland Raiders-type speedster straight out of central casting, is now an actual member of the Silver & Black.
The Raiders selected Pryor in the third round of the NFL's supplemental draft Monday, giving up their corresponding pick in the 2012 draft for a raw player with outstanding size and freakish speed. The 6-foot-5, 232-pound quarterback ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds at a workout Saturday, the kind of time reserved for only the quickest receivers and running backs.
The Raiders have long had an infatuation with the fastest players, many of whom proved lacking in true football skills. When word spread about Pryor's 40 time, it only enhanced speculation that the Raiders might take him.
"We're tickled and thrilled that Terrelle went in the third round and to the Raiders," said Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus. "The third round is quite an accomplishment for a young man who had his pro day 48 hours ago and didn't know he would be in the draft until Thursday morning and wasn't able to meet with any decision makers."
Pryor, a would-be college senior named most valuable player of the 2010 Rose Bowl after leading the Buckeyes to victory over Oregon, comes to the NFL with baggage in tow. He begins his career by serving a five-game suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that will match the number of games Pryor would have missed at Ohio State because of NCAA violations he allegedly committed.
How the Raiders plan to use Pryor is unclear. They have a starting quarterback in Jason Campbell, and experienced veterans behind him in Trent Edwards and Kyle Boller, both of whom have started elsewhere. Given Pryor's speed, the team might try him at receiver, where their ranks have been depleted by injuries.
That the Raiders used a third-round pick (18th in that round) on Pryor is noteworthy because that's a coveted spot where teams expect to get real value, not a throwaway selection. As it stands, Oakland has no picks in the second through fourth rounds next spring.
Mike Mayock, the widely respected draft analyst for NFL Network, said Pryor "thrives in a fast-break environment, where his legs do more damage than his arm." He added Pryor took snaps under center — as opposed to being in the shotgun — more than most people think, and had decent touch on his deep passes.
But Mayock said Pryor's short and intermediate passing was not up to the NFL's standards of accuracy.
"Rarely were his receivers able to run with the ball after the catch," he said. "It looks like he floats a lot of passes."
Mayock pointed to a game last fall when No. 18 Wisconsin knocked off the top-ranked Buckeyes, 31-18. Pryor completed 14 of 28 passes with one interception.
"He only had one interception, but there very easily could have been five," Mayock said.
Mayock said Pryor's immediate value might be as a wildcat quarterback, the way the New York Jets would use former Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, who can fill all types of roles on the field.
"If you can throw the ball just well enough to keep the defense off balance, then you've got a wildcat package," Mayock said. "But the teams that are still trying to use running backs, it's not working for them....
"The argument you can make with a kid like Pryor is you're getting a quarterback in the third round and you can get him into your system today, instead of having him play another year in college. There's value to that."