When Terrelle Pryor announced last summer he was transitioning from quarterback to wide receiver, the skepticism was limitless. Sure, the former Ohio State Buckeye is astonishingly athletic. That said, it seemed like an incredible leap to assume he could make such a dramatic change in position in just a couple months.
Pryor is in Year 2 of the wideout experiment, once again vying for a roster spot with the Cleveland Browns. However, the odds of him making the team this season seem to grow on a daily basis. Pryor has been working his tail off to become an NFL-caliber receiver, and it seems he’s on the verge of being rewarded for it now that the Browns are finally giving him a real chance.
As we know, he was given an opportunity to make the team last year. However, nagging injuries kept him off the field for most of camp, limiting him to just one preseason appearance in which he did very little. He made the final cut, but was waived soon after.
After auditioning for a few other teams, Pryor eventually found himself back in Cleveland. He netted just one catch for the year, and the assumption was the new regime would cut him loose this past winter.
However, new coach Hue Jackson instead tendered him in March, allowing him to once again prove his value as a wideout. Unlike the last coaching staff, it does appear Jackson and crew are intrigued by Pryor’s abilities and want to find ways to incorporate someone with skills like his into their game-plans. Now that he’s receiving significant attention, it seems Pryor is hell-bent on becoming a major piece to Cleveland’s offense.
Throughout training camp, Pryor has displayed strong route-running skills, an aspect of the position many assumed he’d struggle with. He’s looked fluid running up and down the field and, despite some drops in the early days of practice, he’s settled down in terms of pass-catching.
Additionally, he’s developed a solid rapport with quarterback Robert Griffin III. With his 6’4” frame, Pryor is essentially one of the team’s biggest red zone threats, something Griffin has taken advantage of in practice.
This was especially the case this past weekend at Cleveland’s intra-squad scrimmage.
Playing at Ohio Stadium for the first time in six years, Pryor stole the show. He hauled in a couple touchdowns for the day, both of which were impressive in their own way. One was a 75-yard bomb from Josh McCown in which Pryor beat the coverage and scampered in for the score. The other was an equally exciting snag in the corner of the end zone as he fought off coverage on a pass from Griffin.
As you can see, Pryor is definitely taking advantage of the second chance Jackson gave him. In reality, it’s not too surprising, considering the Browns coach was the one who suggested Pryor switch to wideout last year after he was cut from the Cincinnati Bengals. Clearly Jackson knew the former QB’s potential should he attempt to revive his career with a position change.
Said belief would also explain why, throughout the majority of camp, Jackson has been using Pryor as a starter, working him with the ones on an almost-daily basis. So far, Pryor and rookie Corey Coleman have made quite an imposing duo for Cleveland. Should his transition be complete (or close to it), there’s no telling how much he could help the Browns’ offense.
He certainly picked the right time to step up, especially considering the moves Cleveland made over the offseason. The current roster is stacked with wide receivers, including four new ones selected from the draft. Had Pryor looked even a little behind, there’s no telling how much it would’ve hurt his chances. However, instead of fading from the pack, Pryor has been one of the team’s standouts.
It’s clear this new regime was willing to bet on Pryor a little more than last year’s staff. In defense of the former coaches, though, he was injured early and rusty late, so you can’t fault them too much.
Still, it’s clear Pryor is much farther along in his transformation to wideout now than he was last year. The Browns gave him a second chance to prove himself, and it looks like he’s getting ready to cash it in. At the moment, it sure looks like the result could be a win for both player and team.