Terrelle Pryor Sr. has often described his rapid transformation from quarterback to one of the league's most productive receivers as a "whirlwind." But it's Pryor who has taken the league by storm these days.
With the Browns on a bye this week, Pryor leads the team in receptions (62), receiving yards (855) and receiving touchdowns (four) through 12 games. Last week in a loss to the Giants, the former Ohio State star caught six passes for 131 yards — his third 100 yard-plus outing — and became the first Browns player to record at least five receptions in five straight games since 1999.
"I think we all realize what a unique story that is and the accomplishment that he has made, making the transformation from really – I see him as a basketball player/quarterback — that all of the sudden is one of the leading receivers in the National Football League," senior offensive assistant and wide receivers coach Al Saunders said earlier this week. "That is quite an accomplishment. He has dedicated himself from a time standpoint to learn everything he possibly can about the position. He has a great passion for the game. He certainly has the qualities and the characteristics of someone who can be very successful in this league at that position. The No. 1 quality of a wide receiver is to catch the football, and he has tremendous natural ability because of his hand-eye coordination and because of his athleticism."
So what's next for Pryor?
"Terrelle learns something from every day, he learns something from every week, he learns something from every game," Saunders said. "As that continues to go, I would be remiss to say he couldn't develop exponentially from what he is right now. And the one thing about Terrelle, he'll work hard to do it."
That kind of growth could come from mastering the nuances of playing a relatively new position.
"He's learning the position. He's learning the details, the fundamentals and the technique and all of the intricacies of how to be a route runner," Saunders said. "He is just really dramatically improved his ability to do that and to separate in a short area."
"I think to be elite I have to keep on continuing to having better angles on blocks. I missed a block that I can't remember if it was (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) or Crow (RB Isaiah Crowell) got tackled in the backfield and it was totally my fault," Pryor added. "Stuff like that, angles like that, and I think a little bit more running after the catch. There are a couple times where I am catching and I am trying to make big plays rather than just take it … I'm trying to think touchdown every play, but that is not a bad thing."
Pryor's workmanlike approach in the offseason bore the success you now see on Sundays. Back in the spring and OTAs, head coach Hue Jackson spoke of Pryor finding his "why" and maturing both on and off the field.
Now, as Cleveland prepares itself for the final month of a tough season, he's determined to help lift the Browns to their first win of the season someway, somehow.
"I feel like there's so much more that i could do well, I feel like I'm part of the reason that we're 0-12 and that's how i think of it. That's what pushes me every day, that's what pushes me to get better … it's just the simple fact of chasing that."
To be sure, Pryor has been a bright spot that only seems to get brighter.
"He's done something that I don't think many people have done in the National Football League," Saunders said.
And he's nowhere near done yet.