In 2016, Terrelle Pryor’s first full season as a wide receiver, he caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns on a bad Cleveland Browns team.
It was a highly impressive debut for a player who had focused the early stage of his pro career on developing as a passer. Now in Washington and atop the depth chart on a team that lost its two leading receivers from a season ago, Pryor will be asked to take the next step in his career.
Can Pryor be an elite WR1?
The case for Pryor
Pryor was forced to swallow his pride when the best deal he could find in free agency was a one-year pact worth $6 million, but it was a soft market for wideouts (Alshon Jeffery got only a one-year deal, too) and Pryor’s inexperience at receiver likely scared some teams away. The Redskins got a major bargain.
Make no mistake: Pryor is an absurdly athletic and ascending player who shattered expectations last season, and will now get to play on one of the NFL’s best passing offenses.
This is a player who topped 1,000 yards despite learning a new position on an offense that featured a revolving door of quarterbacks (including Pryor himself for a few snaps) and that finished as a bottom-five passing attack.
Now we’ll get to see what Pryor can do as Kirk Cousins’ top target on an offense that passed for more yards in 2016 than every team except the Saints. Oh, baby.
Coaches and quarterbacks rave about Pryor’s understanding of route concepts and the subtleties of getting open. It makes sense he should see the game differently; he literally used to watch it from the pocket.
As Pryor continues to get comfortable at his new position and learns to unleash his rare athletic gifts to their fullest extent, he will take a big step forward. With Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball, he’ll take a giant leap.
– David P. Woods
The case against Pryor
Will Pryor be the Redskins’ top receiving threat in 2017? Almost certainly. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be an elite receiver.
Pryor should lead the Redskins in targets, but based on last year, it won’t be by a large margin. In 2016, Pierre Garcon led the team with 116 targets, followed by DeSean Jackson with 100, Jamison Crowder with 97, and Jordan Reed with 87.
This offense spreads the ball around, and that won’t change in 2017.
While Garcon and Jackson are gone, Reed – the Redskins’ best offensive player – only played in 12 games, meaning he should easily top 100 targets if he remains healthy. Also, Josh Doctson has been impressing in OTAs after an injury-ravaged rookie season and should be set for a significant role.
Cousins is an upgrade on the quarterbacks Pryor worked with in Cleveland, but he’s still a limited player who doesn’t always take full advantage of the talents around him.
No one can argue Pryor doesn’t possess outstanding athleticism. His almost seamless transition to receiver is remarkable. But he went missing at times last season, and still needs to find his consistency game to game. The NFL’s 32 teams showed what they thought of Pryor when none were willing to sign him to a big-money extension during free agency.
Pryor could still end being a very good receiver, but it’s no lock, and the Redskins’ stacked offense might limit his chances.
– Jack Browne
Were Vic Beasley’s 15.5 sacks a fluke? (July 5)
Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.