Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 18th pick in the third round of the NFL supplemental draft Monday afternoon.
There was question as to whether Pryor would be eligible for the supplemental draft last week, but the NFL gave the quarterback the green light after the league also levied a five-game suspension against him.
That was the suspension Pryor would have had to endure if he returned to the Buckeyes for his senior season for his involvement in the infamous Ohio State tattoo scandal came to light in Dec.
Though Pryor was on track to return to Ohio State for his senior season after leading the Buckeyes to a win in the Sugar Bowl last year, the quarterback left the program weeks after Jim Tressel’s resignation.
"I just wasn't sure," Pryor told the NFL Network, expressing insecurities for the way the draft could have played out. "Especially with the five-game suspension, I had a lot of odds against me and I'm thankful for the opportunity to play for the Raiders, one of my favorite teams. I'm glad I'll be wearing silver and black.
"All the odds were against us, the five-game suspension on top of that, I wasn't sure the direction it was going. But I can't do anything but make the best of the selection. I definitely will. I'm looking forward to the opportunity, and I look forward to getting on the field."
Pryor will first be eligible to play for the Raiders in week six when the team plays a home game against the Cleveland Browns. What position he’ll play if he finds the field, however, has yet to be determined.
Pryor was projected as a mid-round pick as a quarterback, but hyp skyrocketed over the weekend after he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash during his Saturday pro day. There were 17 NFL scouts in attendance to watch Pryor work out.
He was incredibly successful during his time at Ohio State, throwing for just under 6,200 career yards in addition to his 2,164 on the ground. During his three-year run as the starter for the Buckeyes, he went 31-4, won three Big Ten Conference championships, and led his team to two BCS bowl victories.
Regardless of whether the Raiders feel as if his best spot is at quarterback, Tressel is confident he’ll put in the time to be successful.
"He's the biggest perfectionist I've ever been around," Tressel told the NFL Network. "Football means a great deal to him, his teammates mean a great deal to him, he wants to help a franchise win, and he has one of the biggest hearts of any kid I've been around.
“There was a lot of pressure on him at Ohio State. We didn't expect him to start as a freshman at Ohio State, but he we needed him and he delivered. He's carried a lot of pressure. He's just a special kid."
Tressel cited Pryor’s tremendous growth physically on the field in the weeks since he left Ohio State as proof that he is bound to be successful. The performance at his pro day, Tressel said, wasn’t an accident.
"I think it'll be scary to see what he can do for this reason -- watching the progress (on Saturday) after he had just six weeks where all he did was football," Tressel said. "College involves going to class, doing schoolwork, and the social aspects of being that age.
“Now that he can do football and play quarterback 24-7, and that's really what he wants to do, his development might happen quicker than people think. He's as attentive as you can possibly imagine. It means a lot to him. And he's at his best when folks are doubting him and, I think, with the suspension you have that.”
Though Tressel’s resignation could be directly tied to the actions of Pryor, the former Buckeye coach continued to support his former quarterback even after he was no longer affiliated with Ohio State.
"He knows I love him very much," said his old coach. "My major concern is what he becomes as a man, not as an NFL quarterback or football player. We feel strongly about one another. He feels terrible when he disappoints me and I feel terrible when I disappoint him. We're always there for one another.
"This has been kind of like when your own child graduates. You say, 'OK, it's on you now.' You hope they take what they learned, and you see how they apply it. We've had our time, and now it's a new world for him. You say, 'I hope you're prepared, because we tried like heck to prepare you, we'll always be there for you. Now, go have fun with it.'"
The Raiders will now be forced to give up its third-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft for Pryor, per the rules of the supplemental draft. Pryor, of course, is pleased to finally get his professional football career underway.
"I've been patient -- very patient -- and now some good things are starting to happen and I gotta take full advantage of the opportunity that I have," Pryor said. "And just believe. It's gonna take more patience, it'll be five games in and there are some great quarterbacks at the Oakland Raiders. I'm gonna try to learn off those guys and fit in as well as I can with the team."