The New York Jets have a Pryor engagement.
The Mean Green Machine has put pen to paper to bring the 28-year-old Quarterback-turned-Wideout to the Big Apple. Pryor will look to bounce back after a miserable 2017 in which he posted 240 yards and one touchdown before being benched in week 10.
Despite the awful 2017 season, there is cause for optimism. Earlier this offseason I analyzed a few disappointing players and whether they would bounce back or not. At that point, I said Terrelle Pryor would remain a bust, but his move to New York does open some interesting opportunities for him.
But before we get into whether he’s worth owning or not. I want to look at three key points of this move:
- Impact on Terrelle Pryor’s fantasy value
- Robby Anderson’s fantasy value
- Impact on Jets QB
- Jets Draft strategy
Impact on Terrelle Pryor’s Fantasy Value
Terrelle Pryor moves from a passing offense that was on the rise in Washington to a passing offense with optimism in New York. As of this moment, he’ll form the Jets’ wideout corps with Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and Quincy Enunwa.
What makes his situation intriguing is the volatile position that each of the other Jets’ receivers is in. Quincy Enunwa is recovering from an August surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck, a procedure which could keep him out for part of the 2018 season. Jermaine Kearse may not return at all according to a report by CBS Sports. Finally, Robby Anderson’s arrest for felony resisting arrest, his second felony arrest in the past two years, puts his availability in question.
So, it is entirely feasible that Pryor ends up the secondary, or perhaps even primary, receiver for Josh McCown or Teddy Bridgewater. Could he perform in that role? The same role that he so miserably played in last year?
Let’s look at some quick statistics. Why did Terrelle Pryor fail in 2017? Many said it’s because he was constantly missing plays and dropping passes, and that his catch rate was really low.
First, in regards to his dropped passes, I’ll share a twitter poll I recently posted:
Despite 78% of people saying he had 5 or more drops, Pryor had just 2 drops in 2017. Now, some will point out that he had just 37 targets, and that accounts for the small number. But that leaves him with a 5.4% drop rate. Marquise Lee had an 8.4% drop rate, Jimmy Graham a 7.3%, Mohamed Sanu had 6.25%, and Cooper Kupp put up a 5.3%. So it’s fair to say that his number of dropped passes isn’t astronomical.
Second, his catch rate. In 2017 Terrelle Pryor caught 54.1% of his passes. That’s not a good number for a receiver. But it was still better than big name receivers such as Dez Bryant (52.3%), A.J. Green (52.8%), and Mike Evans (52.2%). Pryor’s Redskins teammate Josh Doctson posted an awful 44.9% catch rate. Finally, if catch rate is something we use to determine Terrelle Pryor’s performance, then how do you account for 2016? In that year Pryor had a fantastic season with the Browns, and only caught 55% of his passes.
But let’s step away from statistics for a moment and look at his situation. In 2016 Terrelle Pryor was asked by the Browns to fill a role that no one expected he would shine in. He was playing for a last-place team with absolutely no pressure to perform. Boom. He shines. So he signs a big deal with a competitive football team to be a reliable #1 option for them. The pressure gets to him. He drops two important passes, and his targets drop from 11 to 4 between games one and two of the season. Cousins and Pryor never rebuild that trust and confidence, and the rest is history.
This year, he joins a team as a depth option for a team that is rebuilding. He very well could get called on to fill a bigger role but with fewer expectations than he had with the Redskins. Perhaps he can put that all together and bottle a little magic that he found in 2016. Time will tell.
Impact on Robby Anderson’s Fantasy Value
Honestly, this doesn’t have a big effect on Anderson’s value. The player who can impact Robby Anderson the most is… Well… Robby Anderson.
His legal issues could interfere with his season depending on how his trials and hearings unfold. The league will likely wait until his trials are settled before they make a Personal Conduct decision. The Jets have recently shown support for Robby Anderson, so it seems they haven’t given up. If he does play, he’ll assume a significant role.
The signing of Pryor gives the Jets a safety net should any number of their receivers not be available. But, as much as I stated that Terrelle Pryor has potential, it’s also clear that with Anderson in the game that Pryor is just not going to be a go-to guy. Pryor will be a player that gets called into action if need be. So, if Anderson is cleared to take the field, that need will be lessened, and Anderson will remain a decent fantasy option.
When he plays, Robby Anderson should be a strong WR2. But he’ll need to be drafted with extreme caution, only to be used as a backup with potential. Monitor news on his availability as the off-season goes on.
Impact on the Jets’ Quarterbacks
Josh McCown had a banner year as the Jets Quarterback in 2017. He finally realized his potential and posted the best numbers of his career. He’ll likely assume the starting role for the Jets in week 1. However, the Jets have also brought in Teddy Bridgewater to try and help stabilize the position in case McCown should return to his mediocrity (or injury).
The addition of Terrelle Pryor does move the needle up for whomever the starting QB will be. Not by a massive amount, but at least a little bit. The Jets receiving personnel is still a messy affair, even if they have finally added a guy who’s expected to suit up in week 1. With the plethora of needs that the Jets have ahead of the draft, there may not be any more help along the way.
McCown/Bridgewater’s values will be most affected by the availability of their receivers as a whole more than anything. Terrelle Pryor could end up being a capable receiver, but the Jets will struggle if he’s the only option they have. However, with Anderson, Pryor, and Enunwa (and potentially Kearse) all in the mix, the Jets have some options to move the ball through the air.
If McCown is the season-long starter for the Jets, he’ll be a middle-of-the-road QB2 with a shaky floor. If Bridgewater is the QB, he’ll be a middling QB2 with slightly more potential than McCown.
Impact on Jets Draft Strategy
As much as the Jets could use another exciting WR prospect, it’s doubtful that they will add one in the draft.
Their main focus will be on finding a potential franchise quarterback in the first round. At this moment they do not have a second-round pick. So if they wisely use their middle round picks to help out their O-Line and perhaps Linebacker unit, there’s not much left for finding explosive Wide Receivers.
The Jets would be wise to throw their hat into the ring in the 6th to 7th round and perhaps try to land a late-round development project. Beyond that, though, this is not a year that the Jets can push their chips all-in on a top-tier Wide Receiver.
Terrelle Pryor is a guy I am going to target late in drafts. There are questions marks flying around him at every corner, but I like to use the double-digit-rounds to draft for potential. Pryor has potential. We know that in the right situation, he can perform as a WR2. This could be the right situation for him to make an impact on a fantasy roster.
Could he bust? Oh for sure, he could bust. He has proven that as much as he has shown that he can shine. Don’t reach for him and slot him in as your third wide receiver. But as a depth player, he’s a guy that could be a difference maker if the situation in New York plays out positively for him.
Right now, according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, Pryor is the WR48 and being drafted at the end of the 10th round in 12-team leagues. I’d be willing to move him slightly to the WR43-44 range. He is a guy I would look at when the 9th-10th round turnaround comes along.