Mel Kiper gives his verdict on Pryor’s pro-prospects:
Scouts INC have given Pryor a 5th round grade. Although he’s awarded an ‘exceptional’ mark for production and physical tools, his intelligence/decision making and accuracy are graded ‘below average’. On his accuracy in particular, they state:
“Flashes the ability to hit the strike zone but not nearly as accurate as the numbers suggest. Forces receivers to adjust too much, and footwork is biggest concern. Frequently throws flat-footed. Will open his stance too much, hindering his ability to follow through. Throws across his body and behind receivers too often. Floats too many of his vertical throws.”
On Pryor’s decision making:
“Flashes the ability to checkdown when his first option isn’t there but is mechanical and inconsistent going through progressions. Appears to assume checkdowns are open and throws into coverage at times. Tendency to press is biggest concern here. Throws the ball up for grabs far too often when getting pressured. Anticipation as a passer is below average and he is late on too many throws. Holds the ball too long, which gives defenses a chance to react.”
Pryor’s credited with being willing to “play through the pain” and is described as a “tough runner who is not afraid to initiate contact if it means picking up the first down or getting into the end zone.” However, this is qualified by the warning that, “NFL scouts are thoroughly investigating his maturity level and mental toughness.”
KC Joyner voices concerns about a lack of improvement against better teams during his time at Ohio State. He uses Cam Newton as a comparison and the way he performed against the likes of LSU, Alabama and South Carolina as he grew into a defining role as the Tigers quarterback. He had a passer rating of 195.0 in November, December and January as Auburn lifted the National Championship and Newton won the Heisman. When it mattered, Newton got the job done.
Pryor didn’t enjoy such success, particularly on the road with only 102.3 rating in 2010. His performance against Wisconsin – the one defeat OSU suffered last year – is highlighted by Joyner.
“Having an exceptionally poor stat line in what may have been the most important game on the Buckeyes’ 2010 schedule pretty much ended Pryor’s Heisman Trophy candidacy, and called into question his ability to step up during crunch time. When it is combined with the entirety of his mediocre big-game performances over the past two years, it shows why his best route to landing on an NFL roster may be via changing to the wide receiver position.”
Not exactly a glowing reference then from these three ESPN pundits.