Terrelle Pryor could be a gem for New York Jets in rebound season

While the New York Jets didn’t make any major additions to its wide receiving corps this offseason, they might have found a potential star in Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor was someone on my free agency radar during the 2017 offseason after he flourished as the No. 1 receiver for the dismal Cleveland Browns. Pryor caught 77 balls, eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau and caught four touchdowns in 2016 while catching passes from Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and even Charlie Whitehurst.

The converted quarterback was unable to parlay that impressive output into a long-term contract, however. He wound up signing with the Washington Redskins on a one-year contract and his career quickly took a southward turn. Pryor was rendered ineffective by an ankle injury suffered in Week 1 and caught only 20 passes for 240 yards and a single touchdown in nine games before undergoing surgery and landing on injured reserve in November. 

It’s certainly possible the Jets, who signed the Ohio State product to a one-year deal worth a little less than $4.3 million, won’t get any return at all on their small investment. Pryor was held out of OTAs and minicamp after suffering another ankle injury.  It’s safe to say health is Pryor’s biggest concern at this point.

However, Pryor will hopefully be healthy and ready to go for training camp when the team reports to Florham Park July 26th. A healthy Pryor possesses serious potential for a Jets offense still seeking some flair from its pass catchers.

For starters, Pryor is the biggest receiver on New York’s roster at 6-foot-4, 228 pounds. While he still isn’t a finished product as a route runner, Pryor’s athleticism given his size is enticing. His 13.1 yards per reception average in 2016 wasn’t gaudy, but still ranked respectably league-wide.

Pryor might have the most raw talent among New York’s receivers and there is opportunity to ascend on a crowded depth chart.

Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse and Quincy Enunwa are penciled in for now as the likely starters, but each of them have work to do before being regarded as a true No. 1 pass catcher.

Anderson needs to show he can do more than stretch the field vertically and develop his route running. Kearse is a solid, but unspectacular pass catcher. Enunwa possesses a ton of potential, but might come with more injury risk than Pryor after he missed the entire 2017 season with a neck injury.

Youngsters Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart also could compete with Pryor for playing time, if not a roster spot. But both have to show more during the summer to merit an extended look with the first unit. Veterans Andre Roberts and Charles Johnson also should challenge for roster spots, but both probably aren’t NFL mainstays for much longer.

If health allows, Pryor could finish the 2018 season as New York’s leading receiver. His talent was evident in Cleveland and there is still plenty of untapped potential to extract and refine.

Much to my chagrin, the Jets didn’t land Allen Robinson, the most coveted free agent receiver in the 2018 class. However, they might have gotten a darn good consolation prize in Pryor.

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