The Jets added free agent and former Redskin Terrelle Pryor to their wide receiver corps recently. What does he bring to the table? Is he a bargain buy that will add a much-needed weapon to the Jets offense? Or is he little more than a camp flier with nice measurables?
Let’s take a look.
I’ll kick off by showing you exactly why Pryor isn’t more of a commodity despite posting 1,000 yards in his first season as a WR with the Cleveland Browns of all teams. The reason? Drops. Pryor’s hands are his biggest weakness. He typically does a great job trying to be a “hands catcher” rather than relying his body; the problem is his hands just aren’t good. And this issue goes back to his career year with the Browns in 2016.
As I mentioned, the good thing is that Pryor is a hands catcher first. Hopefully for him and the Jets, a little more experience at the position will soften his hands. He lets way too many easy ones slip by and doesn’t seem to make as many big-time grabs as you’d expect from a man his size. This is the biggest roadblock for him.
However, you can clearly see why Pryor still attracted interest despite being a near-30 converted QB-to-WR who posted less than 300 yards last year. In addition to his tantalizing frame and athletic ability, the seeds of a solid wide receiver are there. This route, from Week 1 of 2017 before Pryor apparently injured his ankle, is so much fun to watch. Man! Unfortunately Kirk Cousins wasn’t looking Pryor’s way before the blitz arrived. But this is clean. (Bottom)
There are areas of his route running game Pryor needs to solidify, which we’ll get to, but his ability to sell a defender in one direction and fly the other is really impressive. You saw it above, and here you see him make a similar move matched up against Janoris Jenkins in the slot (when he and the Giants were still good; in 2016 while Pryor was a Brown.) This is a 6’4 man doing this.
Pryor still has a lot of that 4.4 speed left in him. Here’s a look at his measurables from PlayerProfiler.com.
He makes use of it on the go route; perhaps his best weapon. Check him out blowing by Eli Apple for a 50+ yard gain. (Top)
Here Pryor gets Marcus Peters to bite inside to get a couple steps on him deep, making a good adjustment to an underthrown ball. (Top)
Let’s throw back to a rainy Cleveland afternoon in October 2016, when the Indians were up 3-1 in the World Series and Darrelle Revis was a crumbling shell of his old self. More of Pryor’s signature change of direction, which 2016 Revis was obviously no match for. (Bottom)
As you’ll see in another clip later, Pryor has a good feel for the defender upon the catch and can free himself up for more YAC. Kind of pathetic tackle attempt from Revis, though. Pryor posted 101 yards in this game, the third highest total of his career. (Bottom)
As referenced above, Pryor with a great turn upfield after the catch for more YAC.
While I was surprised to see some of the ways Pryor was able to win with his route running, there are still areas he can get better in that phase of the game. While his ability to sell and change direction is pristine at times, he has the tendency to round out his routes way too much on simple out and corner routes. This especially became a greater problem after he began playing through an ankle injury for the Redskins early in the season. Here are two examples from a game against Oakland; curvy, predictable routes that are jumped for the pass breakup. (Top of screen in both clips)
Just for fun, here’s a look at Pryor going at it with now-teammate Trumaine Johnson. A few little swings thrown here!
All in all, I think Pryor is a worthy gamble on the one-year deal he is reported to be receiving from the Jets. In addition to his physical and athletic prowess, he has developed some NFL-caliber receiving traits quickly. I think his skillset fits a lot better into this Jets offense than it did in Washington. The Jets loved to look for go routes on the outside and rely on inside slants; and those are Pryor’s biggest strengths. There is some intriguing potential here.
However, you can’t ignore the fact that, regardless of circumstance, Pryor has been one of the least efficient wide receivers in the league since his switch. Among the 41 WRs with at least as many targets as Pryor the last 2 years (177), he ranks 39th in TDs (5), 35th in catch percentage (55%) and 37th in yards per target (7.05). He is also going to be 29 at the start of the season, battled injuries last season, and has had some minor locker room rumblings surrounding him leak out.
Pryor is far from a lock to be an upgrade for this offense, and really should not be above Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, or (if they are confident in his health) Quincy Enunwa on the depth chart to start the year. If Pryor is healthy and makes strides to become an impact weapon deserving of a large share of targets, great! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; he needs to show those things first.
Where will Terrelle Pryor rank among the Jets roster in receiving yardage in 2018?
This poll is closed
5th or lower
Will not record a catch