Strolling through the mailbag on a slow Groundhog Day Wednesday, I came across several different variations on this same question.
Phil from Fairfax, Va: "What if Terrelle Pryor decides to enter the supplemental draft, should the Redskins try and get him?"
Thanks, Phil (and others). I love me some mailbag-generated content. I have done some poking around on this issue, talked to some people who might know what's up, and this is a point-by-point rundown of what I have learned and what I think.
The league is still planning to have a supplemental draft, likely sometime in July, in spite of the lockout. Any team that takes a player in the supplemental draft loses a corresponding-round pick in the following year's April draft. So if you picked Pryor in, say, the fifth round, you'd lose your 2012 fifth-round pick. Now, because of the lockout and the fact that there isn't, in reality, an NFL right now, you could argue that it makes no sense to even have a supplemental draft. But since the owners are basically making up the lockout's rules as they go along, it looks as if they'll do it anyway, sense be damned.
Neither Pryor nor any other player has yet declared for the supplemental draft. But Pryor is likely not welcome back at Ohio State, where he is facing a minimum five-game suspension and is currently being blamed by fans for the forced resignation of his corrupt coach. The supplemental draft would seem to have been created for just such a case, and it's very likely that Pryor will declare for it at some point.
Scouts have questions about what position Pryor will play at the next level. Some believe that he has the ability to be an NFL quarterback if he gets with some good coaches and continues to develop. Others believe he'll have to transition to wide receiver, and that he's quick and athletic enough to make that conversion. Without knowing whether Pryor would be willing to make such a conversion, we're left to speculate, and I say based on the conversations I've had that Pryor grades out as no better than a fifth-round pick.
Now, in terms of what this means for the Redskins, I would say that it's important to recognize that Pryor would not be the answer at quarterback next season. He needs more development at the position, and that's to say nothing of the character concerns he brings with him. Those who would compare him to Cam Newton must remember that he lacks Newton's on-field achievements and that he's the one at the center of his eligibility controversy, whereas with Newton it was his father. Drafting Pryor in the supplemental draft would not solve the Redskins' quarterback issues for whatever portion of the 2011-12 season ends up being played.
If Mike Shanahan and the Redskins believe Pryor is their quarterback of the future, then maybe he's worth a mid-round supplemental pick. But next year's draft (again, assuming there is one) is QB-rich, and the Redskins look as if they might be in position to secure a high pick in that draft. So if they're looking at Pryor as a long-range quarterback prospect, they'll probably have to decide where he ranks among guys like Andrew Luck, Landry Jones and Matt Barkley.
However, the Redskins could use some help at receiver, too. And if they like Pryor's athleticism enough to believe he can make that conversion -- and who knows, maybe one day down the road learn enough about quarterback to play there -- then maybe be starts to make sense around the fourth or fifth round of the supplemental draft.
Given the Redskins' needs, any surprise new addition to the talent pool in the middle of the summer would seem, at the very least, to be worth considering.