Al Davis was always a polarizing character throughout the sports world. Between suing the league and encouraging an 'anything goes' mentality, most NFL fans couldn't stand him. Within the Raider Nation, however, Al was beloved and respected as our fearless leader. Towards the end of his life, though, Raider fans started to divide and argue that Al was no longer fit to run the franchise.
It is fitting, therefore, that his last pick was also a polarizing character: Terrelle Pryor. We know why people hated Al: his arrogance, ignorance, and poor drafting cost the team a decade of prominence. Why is Pryor so hated? He was a 3rd round pick, has great measurables, and showed promise in his one start.
Pryor stands at 6'4 233 which is as prototypical a size for a QB as you could ask for. He, however, offers a very un-prototypical speed for a man his size, running a 4.38 40 in his pro day. His speed is superior to most any starting QB in the NFL.
He is also known for having good arm strength, but his mechanics are raw and inconsistent. During his time in college, and in the NFL, many of Pryor's passes seemed to hang in the air.
The NFL is changing, no longer is the typical 'statue in the pocket' the only solution at QB. Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Michael Vick, and Robert Griffin III have all experienced success while using their legs and arms. So why are people so opposed to giving Pryor a shot?
In his one start Pryor showed his willingness to keep his eyes down field and look to pass. While he did rack up 50 yards and a TD on the ground, he attempted 19 more passes than runs. Now I know that the comments below will discuss how bad some of his throws looked, and I get that, but there were a few beautiful throws in there too.
2012 Terrelle Pryor's - 1st Game Start Highlights (via RaiderNationNewsHD)
Our NFL sample size with Pryor is very small. If you look over the game logs for Kaepernick, Newton, Wilson, and RGIII you will see games with similar inconsistencies to Pryor's:
|Sun 12/9||W 27-13||18||23||185||78.3||8.04||25||0||0||64.1||100.2||6||53||8.8||50||1|
|Sun 10/28||L 22-23||20||39||314||51.3||8.05||62||0||2||19.2||57.0||5||37||7.4||16||0|
|Sun 12/30||W 44-38||16||33||248||48.5||7.52||34||0||1||47.3||61.2||7||34||4.9||16||
|Thu 9/20||L 7-36||16||30||242||53.3||8.07||33||0||3||15.6||40.6||6||6||1.0||3||1|
|Sun 12/9||W 27-13||18||23||185||78.3||8.04||25||0||0||64.1||100.2||6||53||8.8||50||
|Sun 12/30||W 28-18||9||18||100||50.0||5.56||18||0||0||76.7||66.9||6||63||10.5||17||1|
|Sun 10/28||L 12-27||16||34||177||47.1||5.21||37||1||0||57.0||72.8||6||8||1.3||7||0|
|Sun 11/4||L 13-21||23||39||215||59.0||5.51||25||0||
|Sun 12/30||W 28-18||9||18||100||50.0||5.56||18||0||0||76.7||66.9||6||63||10.5||17||
|Thu 10/18||L 6-13||9||23||122||39.1||5.30||36||0||1||26.0||38.7||3||10||3.3||9||0|
Compare these "All-Stars" to Pryor:
|Sun 12/30||L 21-24||13||28||150||46.4||5.36||38||2||1||71.2||72.0||9||49||5.4||9||1|
Obviously, the rest of these QB's strung together impressive performances to offset these mediocre ones. Pryor has yet to do this, and maybe he never will.
Clearly every QB has his off days. Is it so unreasonable to believe that a guy who hadn't started a game in over 2 years could play below his potential? Is it so crazy to believe that he could work to improve his mechanics? Is it so crazy to believe he could become a legitimate starter?
Al's career was volatile from beginning to end. He became polarizing within our fan base because of his poor decisions in his old age. Pryor is not nearly as prominent a figure as Al Davis, and never will be, but in this time of relative normalcy he has taken over as the polarizing figure. It will be interesting to see if Pryor improves upon his mediocre first start, or ends his career in obscurity. Until then, the wild speculation will continue.