2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Calvin Pryor

  • Hard hitter
  • Very Instinctive
  • Play-maker
  • Plays well in tackle box
  • Forces a lot of fumbles
  • Has some ball skills
  • Takes good angles
  • Tackling ability
  • Run defense
  • Physical presence
  • Can separate the ball from the receiver
  • Durable
  • Quickness
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Could stand to improve his center-field skills
  • Needs to develop ability to cover tight ends
  • Needs to develop ability to cover slot receivers

  • Summary: Dangerous. That would be the word describe the middle of the field with Pryor lurking. If receivers aren’t ready, Pryor can knock them out for a week with devastating hits. Over the past three seasons, he was a physical force for Louisville.

    Pryor first saw playing time as a freshman in 2011. He had a solid debut with 43 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. He improved his game significantly as a sophomore, notching 100 tackles and five forced fumbles for 2012. Pryor continued his strong play in 2013 with 75 tackles, three interceptions, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles on the season.

    For the NFL, Pryor is a tough in-the-box safety. He is an excellent run-defender who functions well as the eighth man in the box. Pryor is a good tackler and is instinctive.

    For pass defense, Pryor is best at zone coverage in the intermediate portion of the field. He didn’t play a lot of deep centerfield, nor was he often used in man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers. Those areas will be the most critical challenges for Pryor at the next level as his value will increase if can develop some man-coverage skills.

    Pryor is a play-maker with an ability to cause turnovers. With his hard hitting, he separates the ball from receivers and forces a lot of fumbles. Pryor had five interceptions in his collegiate career, and but has the capacity to keep getting better at picking off passes with some pro coaching.

    Sources have said they believe that Pryor could go in the 20s because he isn’t considered to be a special athlete with speed. As one source said about Pryor and HaHa Clinton-Dix, “Neither one of these guys is an Earl Thomas-like athlete.” That was proven at the Combine when both had solid but unspectacular 40 times of 4.58 seconds. Clinton-Dix looked better in the field drills and Pryor had a quality pro day, but neither one dominated the Combine.

    In the 2014 NFL Draft, Pryor looks like a mid- to late first-round pick. He should quickly become an impact starter as a strong safety in the NFL.

    Player Comparison: Adrian Wilson. In the NFL, Pryor could be a player who turns out to be similar to Wilson. Wilson has been one of the best strong safeties in the NFL over the past decade. He was a third-round pick in 2001 out of N.C. State, but obviously Wilson should have been drafted higher.

    Both Wilson and Pryor are physical football players who are always around the ball. Wilson (6-3, 230) is bigger than Pryor, but when Wilson entered the NFL, he was 213 pounds. Over his impressive career, Wilson has been a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro selection. Pryor has a similar game to Wilson and the potential to be a special strong safety.

    NFL Matches: St. Louis, Baltimore, New York Jets, Chicago, Arizona, Green Bay, Philadelphia

    There are a lot of teams that could consider drafting Pryor in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. One of the most likely landing spots is St. Louis. The Rams have a huge need at safety. They need a free safety with coverage skills to pair with T.J. McDonald. Pryor wouldn’t be a perfect fit for that, but Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams like physical defenders. It might make more sense for St. Louis to trade down from the 13th pick and target Pryor.

    Elsewhere in the NFC West, Arizona got a good season out of Yeremiah Bell last year, but the team will need to get a long-term starter. Pryor would be a perfect fit in the Cardinals’ defense as they need a strong safety with Tyrann Mathieu playing free safety. Pryor looks like a great fit to Arizona at No. 20.

    Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said that improving the safety position would be a goal of the offseason. Pryor and Matt Elam could form a physically devastating tandem.

    The Jets need to improve their safeties, and Pryor would be a good fit for Rex Ryan.

    In the NFC North, the Bears could look for an upgrade over Chris Conte and Major Wright. Pryor would fit Mel Tucker’s defense well.

    The safety position was a weakness for the Packers last year. They need to find a partner to go with Morgan Burnett. Pryor doesn’t exactly fit Green Bay’s type of defensive back as the team prefers longer, rangy athletes with ball skills. His coverage ability to prevent big plays downfield would need to be developed.

    The Eagles have a huge hole at safety. They want physical defenders who can bully offensive players, but it seems unlikely that Chip Kelly would pass on Pryor. Ergo, Philadelphia is probably the lowest he will fall in the first round.


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