Largely lost in the last week of frenetic transactional activity has been the still-uncertain status of the supplemental draft. The NFL has said there won’t be one if no players are eligible, an indirect way of saying that former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor may not be eligible.
With every training camp now open, the league still has made no decision.
If a decision is made to conduct the supplemental draft and thus to include Pryor, Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the Dolphins likely will be in the hunt. Other teams previously linked to Pryor include the Buccaneers and the Browns.
Pryor will be a project at best in 2011, especially since he already is far behind where he’d be if he’d been drafted in a normal year. But in a quarterback-hungry league, it’s hard to imagine no one taking a flyer on him.
That said, the vibrations coming from the league office suggest that the NFL is working on a way to keep Pryor out, possibly as a favor to the folks in charge of the league’s free farm system. While we understand the league’s position that players shouldn’t be able to manipulate the system to become eligible for the supplemental draft, Pryor was eligible to join the April 2011 draft — and if his coach had resigned in time for Pryor to declare for the April 2011 draft, Pryor likely would have. The delayed attempt hasn’t helped him, and there’s no reason to believe that Pryor specifically and intentionally engineered the process so that he could bypass the April selection process in order to enter via the supplemental draft.
If, in the end, the NFL doesn’t let him in until April 2012, Pryor’s options will be limited. With the UFL on a 30-day hiatus and amid persistent rumors that the five-team league will shrink to four, there may not be a spot for him there, either.
If the UFL truly has any interest in eventually succeeding, the interest arising from hiring Pryor couldn’t hurt. Then again, if the UFL truly has any interest in eventually being purchased by the NFL, maybe the UFL needs to take whatever hint the NFL will be dropping if it slams the door on Pryor until next year.