Go figure: Robert Griffin III is getting a lot of help in resurrecting his career as an NFL quarterback from a former NFL quarterback. 

Don't call Terrelle Pryor a project anymore. The 6-4, 225-pounder is a legitimate wide receiver all the way now. Given the state of the Browns' wideout corps at the moment, he's living up to his size and hype to lift RGIII into an early comfort level as Cleveland's new starting quarterback.

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The Browns drafted Corey Coleman to be their No. 1 receiver, but the rookie first-rounder has been hamstrung and has yet to play in the preseason. Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland's most seasoned slot option, has been out even longer with a similar injury. Reinstated and activated Josh Gordon just got back to practice, in advance of being suspended for the first four regular-season games.

So much for Griffin needing his speedy Baylor brethren, Coleman and Gordon, to show his true promise in Hue Jackson's offense. He followed an uneven preseason opener with a dazzling running and passing performance in the first half vs. Atlanta on Thursday night.

It wouldn't have been possible to accelerate RGIII's potential without Pryor. With Gordon unavailable, Pryor has been working with the first team, and will start for a while along with a healthy Coleman. And if he keeps this up with Griffin, it will be very hard for the Browns to take him out of the starting lineup.

Pryor has proven to be a lot more than a big possession target: He's converted the athleticism he once showed as a premier college dual-threat quarterback at Ohio State into real field-stretching ability.

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That's been huge for Griffin, who is more comfortable aggressively pushing the ball downfield than sitting in the pocket, looking for checkdowns and inviting hits. The deep ball he delivered to Pryor down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown was as beautiful as anything that's come from his arm in the NFL.

Griffin's best highlight of the first preseason game against the Packers came when Pryor slid to grab one of his passes for a 49-yard connection. Not only has Pryor taken advantage of the absences and inexperience of others to shoot up the depth chart, he's also used it to develop a quick, uncanny chemistry with his quarterback.

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It's a very good sign for the Browns that RGIII is impressing before he can play with his two most talented receivers, Coleman and Gordon. Pryor developing into a surprise "sure thing" early has been vital in a position group dominated by rookies. Pryor, tight end Gary Barnidge and running back Duke Johnson are pretty good options to have when a couple of top-flight guys are out of action. 

Jackson's scheme has definitely helped Griffin settle in well. But the Browns could never have imagined Pryor would be among their most important personnel in meeting that g