Terrelle Pryor has been a fascinating figure since he was voted the top prep football player in America coming out of high school.
For the Oakland Raiders, the third round supplemental draft pick is one of the more intriguing players on its roster for much of the same reason he was highly coveted by Ohio State and other top-tier schools — he’s got freakish athleticism and raw skills.
In the NFL, quarterbacks have to be polished. That’s what Pryor is missing. But it won’t take long before fans of the Silver & Black begin to lobby for him to start if things go wrong. The vast majority, as evidenced by the crowd’s reaction during the preseason game against the Detroit Lions, would welcome it.
Here are five reasons they’ll likely get their wish and the Raiders will use Terrelle Pryor in 2012:
The preseason hype machine
In limited action in the 2012 preseason, Pryor showed excitement and big-play ability. Granted, it was only against vanilla defenses and high-end college level talent, but it still fed the hype that constantly surrounds former Buckeye. His most electrifying play was a 59-yard scramble against the Lions that saw him juke and dodge tacklers with the elusiveness of a running back.
Shortly after, he ran for a 17-yard touchdown that appeared all too easy. These plays breathed life into a dull crowd at the Oakland Coliseum and could very well do the same during the regular season.
Potential team struggles
The Oakland Raiders have as good an opportunity as anyone to compete for the AFC West title in 2012, but if the offense doesn’t perform well, then Pryor could provide a spark. Carson Palmer has been a mentor and has helped they youngster improve as a passer, but if he’s hurt, Pryor should surpass current second-stringer Matt Leinart.
Palmer is securely entrenched as the team’s starter, but circumstances can change quickly in the NFL and if the team has nothing to lose, it could probably use the latter half of the season as an extended quarterback audition.
The Cam Newton Factor
Pryor and Cam Newton are miles apart in terms of their development as NFL quarterbacks. But the draft classmates do have some similarities in their ability to morph into a mobile threat when a play breaks down.
Could even more success from Newton in 2012 cause the Raiders to give Pryor a look during the regular season? It’s entirely possible.
Low-risk, high reward?
Pryor was the third pick in the NFL’s supplemental draft and is slated to make a base salary of $375,000 in 2012. With his signing bonus, he’ll only count $411,000 against the salary cap.
When considering what potential he has in terms of generating revenue and creating a buzz from a marketing standpoint, bringing him in could reap benefits far beyond what he’s being paid, especially if he wins.
Oakland sports fans are almost as famous, even infamous at times, as the teams they cheer for. Raider Nation has a distinct voice when it comes to what product it wants to see in action, and it could affect executives’ decision-making.
The fan base understands what it may have in Pryor, and if circumstances warrant it, they could clamor to see him on the field. It may not be the best decision from a football standpoint, but it will be a move that management would almost have to consider if the chatter begins.
Michael C. Jones is the Editor of Sports Out West. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets.
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