The Terrelle Pryor Experiment
Terrelle Pryor is a former two sport standout athlete. He was a top basketball recruit in high school and one of the nation’s highest ranked high school football recruits. Ultimately choosing football, Pryor played his college ball at Ohio State University as a quarterback. Oakland drafted Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft. Pryor is the last pick of former Raider owner Al Davis, a man known for having a penchant for speedy players.
Standing at 6’4” 223 lbs, Pryor is certainly built for the quarterback position. However, his ability to run a 4.32-4.54 second 40 yard dash is extremely fast for an athlete of his height and weight. Despite playing 11 games in 2013 as a quarterback for Oakland, he is now listed playing as a wide receiver for Cleveland. Pryor realized that his days as a starting quarterback in the NFL are over, and has reinvented himself as a wide receiver. The question is whether or not he is a fantasy-worthy commodity.
Through two preseason games, Pryor has been impressive. He caught 2 of 3 targets for 53 yards in the Brown’s preseason opener, and hauled in a 50 yard touchdown in the second preseason game. The former Buckeye has established a good rapport with new Browns’ quarterback Robert Griffin III. Pryor has also showed his ability to run crisp routes and generate separation from coverage. In fact, his 50 yard touchdown came against Atlanta’s top-rated cornerback, Desmond Trufant. The Falcon’s defensive back ran a 4.4 second 40 yard dash himself, making this even more impressive.
Currently, the starting wide receiver group for Cleveland consists of Josh Gordon, rookie Corey Coleman, and 5th year veteran Andrew Hawkins. Pryor has been receiving extensive preseason work, as Gordon is suspended until week 5, and Coleman/Hawkins are both nursing injured hamstrings. Hawkins is designated as the slot receiver due to his size. Gordon typically lines up as the “X” receiver, running routes on the strong side of the formation. Coleman has traditionally played the “X” receiver role as well, drawing main coverage on the outside. With a crowded wide receiver group, Pryor has taken the initiative to learn the “Z” receiver role, and will likely line up on the weak side of the formation in three wide sets. While the depth chart may change once Gordon returns, Pryor has the opportunity to carve a role out for himself in the offense during the first 4 weeks of the season.
Coleman is a talented wide receiver. However, if he does not start getting valuable reps in preseason games, he may not have the opportunity to make an impact this year. Furthermore, Coleman’s traditional “X” receiver spot is usually played by Josh Gordon. Reports out of training camp state that Gordon is looking like his old self, flying through routes and burning cornerbacks. Gordon will assuredly take back the “X” receiver role in week 5, which may force Coleman to either work out of the “Z” receiver role, or have a new role altogether. Rookie wide receivers typically have a hard time making an impact in the league, and Coleman may be no exception to this rule.
With an overall ranking of #228, WR#83, Pryor has been going undrafted in a majority of drafts. He does not have a guaranteed role in the offense once Gordon returns, but he has been showing all the requirements of a starting wide receiver in the NFL. Almost assuredly starting for the first four weeks of the season, Pryor can provide the big play ability that the Browns need while Gordon is away. For Pryor to have sustained fantasy relevance, he will have to make the most of his limited opportunities on the field. In best ball formats, Pryor is a great flier with a late round draft pick. In redraft formats, you can take a flier pick in the last few rounds, but be forewarned that his starting role is not secured for the entire year.