NAPA -- Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is one of the most physically gifted athletes to play his position. The Raiders have a time-honored tradition of acquiring the most physically gifted athletes.
With that in mind, it came as no surprise Monday when the Raiders made Pryor a third-round selection in the NFL supplemental draft.
By putting in a claim on Pryor with the 18th spot in the third round, the Raiders add one of college football's biggest winners over the past three years -- as well as a player who was a focal point of an investigation that put the program in trouble with the NCAA.
Pryor, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was en route to the Bay Area and not available for comment. Once Pryor signs a contract, he can join the Raiders through training camp but will serve an NFL-mandated five-game suspension beginning Sept. 3.
During that time, Pryor will not count toward the 53-man roster, won't be paid and can't practice with the team, although he can be at the facility and attend meetings.
The NFL instituted the suspension in support of a five-game suspension Pryor was scheduled to serve during his senior year for impermissible benefits, which included sale of memorabilia.
Pryor left school after coach Jim Tressel, who reportedly was aware of the violations but didn't report them, resigned under pressure.
Ohio State is awaiting NCAA sanctions and in advance of expected penalties vacated its wins from last season and paid back $330,000 of profits from its Sugar Bowl win.
"I just wasn't sure (what would happen), especially with the five-game suspension," Pryor told the NFL Network. "I had a lot of odds against me, and I'm just happy to play for the Raiders."
Raiders coach Hue Jackson was not expansive on Pryor's selection, choosing to focus on his team on the field and sort out the process of getting Pryor signed and in camp.
Scouts have been critical of Pryor's passing skills and some have projected him as a wide receiver or pass-receiving tight end. In interviews before the supplemental draft, Pryor expressed a preference for quarterback but a willingness to play anywhere.
The Raiders want to get a look at Pryor behind center before doing anything else.
"The young man is a quarterback," Jackson said. "That's where we'll start and we'll go from there."
Pryor won 31 of 35 starts at Ohio State and as a junior passed for 2,772 yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, in addition to 754 yards rushing and four touchdowns. His last two seasons were capped with Most Valuable Player awards in the Rose Bowl against Oregon and the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.
At Pryor's pro day workout Saturday in Pittsburgh, he was timed between 4.36 and 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a time befitting a cornerback or fleet wide receiver. The Raiders, who timed Pryor at 4.41, were one of a reported 17 teams in attendance, represented by area scout Calvin Branch.
Rookie Chimdi Chekwa, the Raiders' fourth-round draft pick out of Ohio State, had conversations with Pryor about joining him in Oakland.
"One thing we joked about was that the Raiders like speed, so I knew Terrelle was a fast guy and a quarterback, so I was hoping we could end up in the same place," Chekwa said.
At Jeannette High in Western Pennsylvania, Pryor was a blue-chip recruit for football and as a power forward in basketball, originally committing to Pittsburgh on a basketball scholarship.
Once Pryor decided on football over basketball, he chose Ohio State over Penn State in a recruiting battle that made national news.
"Obviously I need to work with him," Jackson said. "The guy had a very storied career at Ohio State. He can throw it, he can run with it. He's smart, he's tough, he's played in big games. He's another young athlete we'll add to the mix that plays quarterback and we'll work with him and get this guy to be a good player."
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