This question has been floating around a lot of Bengals and Browns blogs, because lets face it a lot of their fan base happens to be Buckeye supporters as well. And it’s really an interesting idea to be kicking around, but has literally nothing to go off yet considering he is has not yet announced any intentions to enter the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft. But for the purpose of this article, let’s assume that he will. For this article I’m going to break it down a few ways. The first I’ll start with what makes him an NFL caliver talent. Then addressing how he even fits with the Bengals and their roster. Followed by the “logical way” of looking at Pryor and deciding how to handle it all. Then finally I’ll end with my prediction of what the Bengals will actually do when the NFL supplemental draft comes around in July.
Starting off with what Pryor actually offer that makes him a candidate to play at the highest level of football. Pryor is a stellar athlete with a great build and frame and it’s obvious he has the physical tools to excel at most offensive skill positions. The biggest negative this kid has isn’t his play on the field but what he’s doing off of it. On the field he can be a force, typically making plays with his feet. Since this guy showed up at OSU many questioned what he would even transition to at the NFL level. Positions such as Quarterback, Wide Receiver and Tight End have all been mentioned. It’s interesting that a player has the combination of attributes where multiple “experts” think he could have a solid career at any one of those positions. Pryor is most likely going to be pushed from the quarterback position as not many teams a QB with maturity issues, to be the new face of their franchise. But with position transitions, the transition can often become a complete failure. (See Gholston, Vernon)
Pryor definitely brings “something” to the table, theres no question about it. The only question is, “what is that “something”? The (realistic) best case scenario for Pryor is that he becomes an Offensive utility player. Allowing an OC to get creative and work Pryor everywhere, from the Wildcat QB spot, to WR and even lining up in the Backfield as a RB. But this is the best case, and it’s quite likely the exact opposite happens. More times then not when converting a college Quarterback to other positions, it turns out as a failure. Looking at the roster, you have to analyze how he makes the 53, and because of his athleticism he could be play at a few different positions. The most obvious is he could count as a 3rd QB, many franchises don’t even carry a 3rd QB, so the combination of Dalton, a Veteran and a Wildcat QB makes sense. Another possibility is counting him as a RB, the Bengals last season carried 4(Benson, Scott, Leonard and Peerman & in ’09 with Larry Johnson). Peerman’s spot could be the one gives Pryor a chance to catch on. The other roster spot that may be available would be at WR. Looking at who’s under contract now, the Bengals have Green, Ochocinco, Shipley, Simpson, Caldwell, Cosby and Whalen. Many already assume the Bengals will part way with Ochocinco cutting it down to the typical 6. The other that may be up in the air could be Cosby or Caldwell. Both are return men on a team that has multiple others that would be competent (Scott, A. Jones, Lindsey Shipley & Peerman) at PR or KR, making the 2 players need to prove they can contribute to the offense as well as special teams. Bringing in Pryor to camp is having a candidate who can play for a spot at any three of those positions, really elevating the level of intensity for positional battles during camp.
Now to the logical way to approach the supplemental draft. So the question is then asked, is the talent worth the 5th or 6th price it may require to get him(Supplemental draft picks typically are knocked a round or 2). Honestly yes, (coming from a non-OSU fan) if the price is right. 6th or 7th is what I would even consider putting on him, but the athleticism alone is what has me interested. Another reason for picking him up is the unknowns of the FA market. With the UDFA’s and Vet FA’s will all be hitting the market at once and for a better term could be described as a SNAFU. He brings more potential then some of the other possibilities in the UDFA market as well as the typical 6th or 7th round pick. So if he were to be there at the 6th round he would definitely be worth a consideration, but not at a higher round.
The Bengals franchise in the Mike Brown era has always handled itself in a way that has bewildered it’s fan base. So the first question would be, who is making the decision? For the most of the era it was Owner Mike Brown, but may feel Head Coach, Marvin Lewis has had more control in the draft process. The latest example is in this past draft, as word broke out that the QB Mike Brown wanted in the 2nd, was Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett. But the coaching staff felt they had their guy in TCU’s Andy Dalton. The coaches convinced Brown that it was for the best to get Dalton, and the pick was made. So assuming that Marvin and his staff have a voice in this process, I’m led to think they would consider him under a late round value as well. Gruden would have his own Brad Smith or Randle El (without the KR/PR) where he can become creative in the play calling and scheming. Something that his predecessor was knocked for not being able to do.