It's only day 2 of preseason camp for the Cleveland Browns, but buzz has already been building about Terrelle Pryor's performance as a wide receiver. After entering the NFL in the 2011 supplemental draft, Pryor showed flashes of talent as an NFL quarterback, but never gained any traction with his teams. Pryor played three seasons as QB for the Oakland Raiders before being traded and cut by the Seattle Seahawks. Pryor was then signed and cut by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals before announcing in June that he would make the switch to wide receiver. The Cleveland Browns claimed Pryor off the waiver wire on June 22, 2015.
Browns camp started on June 30, and early reports of Pryor's performance as a wide receiver are almost uniformly positive. Joe Haden, shutdown corner for the Browns, immediately praised Pryor, saying "he's fast, he's huge, and it looks like it could work." Mike Pettine, Browns head coach, echoed Haden's praise, saying "it was a good start for Terrelle."
Dwayne Bowe, veteran Browns receiver, also had positive things to say about Pryor:
Dwayne Bowe on Terrelle Pryor: "I have never seen someone transition to receiver so smoothly"— Sports Nation Ohio (@SN_Ohio) July 31, 2015
Include Dwayne Bowe among those that think Terrelle Pryor will succeed at WR. "He's making it look so easy that he's starting to scare me."— Michael McLain (@MichaelMcLain2) July 31, 2015
Former Buckeye and Browns receiver Brian Hartline is withholding judgment, noting that Pryor has a "pretty tall task" to "make up years of learning and work in a couple weeks." But, importantly, no one has said that Pryor looked bad, given his experience level, which is probably a good sign.
Pryor brings blazing speed, rangy stature, and smooth running to the position. He's listed at 6'4, 223 lbs, runs a 4.38 40, and purportedly "killed" the conditioning test for the Browns. Pryor's got the raw physical attributes needed to succeed at receiver, and there's room in the Browns receiving corp with the departure of star Josh Gordon for repeated arrests. Big, tall, athletic receivers have been breaking through more and more in the modern NFL -- the New York Giants's Odell Beckham Jr. and the Pittsburgh Steelers's Martyvis Bryant showed last season that height and speed can overcome a lack of NFL experience.
Pryor's success as a wide receiver could matter quite a bit to Ohio State's Braxton Miller, who famously switched from QB to receiver this year in part to improve his NFL prospects. If Pryor can show that a running QB has the skills and abilities to make it as an NFL receiver, one would imagine teams will be more willing to take a flyer on Miller, especially if Miller gets a full season of experience as receiver under his belt. Miller's a touch shorter and smaller than Pryor, but he's got the same blinding speed as the former Buckeyes QB. It isn't often that two players' situations mirror each other so closely, so watch for Pryor's performance this year as a bellwether for Miller's NFL success.