After much discussion about safeties in this year's NFL Draft, we finally take a closer look at Louisville's Calvin Pryor.
So who is Calvin Pryor anyways? (Like we don't already know).
Hey, no need to get facetious folks. In case you haven't visited a website that covers football in the last six months, Calvin Pryor is a junior safety out of Louisville, who started both his sophomore and junior years. In 2012, Pryor achieved Second-team All-Big East honors and in 2013 he achieved First-team All-AAC honors. Pryor is a native of Port St. Joe, Florida.
What are the measureables?
Pryor measured in at 5'11" and 207 lbs, a full three inches shorter than his listed height at Louisville. Pryor clocked in at a respectable 4.58 second forty-yard dash with a 1.59 second 10-yard split. Additionally, Pryor posted a 4.3 second 20 yard shuttle, a 6.98 second 3-cone drill, a 34.5 inch vertical leap, a 9'8" broad jump and 18 reps on the bench press.
So he's a couple inches shorter than he was listed, it's all about the film right?
Indeed, the film never lies (it does tell half-truths and give ambiguous answers unfortunately). The first thing that jumps off the film with Pryor is his athleticism. Pryor is has very fluid hips, excellent body control and good change ofdirection skills. Though he by no means a super elite-level athlete by NFL standards, he is enough of one to suggest that he could have a relatively high ceiling. Unfortunately, despite his athleticism, Pryor has numerous problems with his game that suggest that he may have difficulty achieving it.
I know I that I said in the last paragraph that the first thing that jumps off the film with Pryor is his athleticism, but I was really just being polite. In reality the first thing you notice with Pryor is the inconsistent angles he takes, both in run support and when providing help over the top in the passing game. You can find numerous instances every game where Pryor flies at a ball carrier only to completely whiff on the play or allow himself to be washed away from the ball-carrier far too easily. You can also find instances in almost every game where Pryor is out of position on deep routes, allowing big chunks of yardage through the air. Pryor does shows good angles on film as well, but he takes those bad angles often enough for it to be worrisome. It's particularly disconcerting because good angles are largely dependent on football IQ and instincts, two things that are difficult to teach. Pryor also has some difficulty when lining up in the slot, as he seems to lose track of players he's covering in both man coverage and when he's parked in a zone.
I don't mean to sound too down on Pryor as he certainly has good qualities as well. That great athleticism I was talking about makes him a real threat to whenever he does have good position on passing plays and Pryor hits like a battering ram when he takes a proper bead on the ball-carrier. Okay, I know this is supposed to be the paragraph about the things he does well but since we just went over that big hit ability, I do have to mention the downside. Pryor uses his shoulder to tackle too much and doesn't wrap consistently. Pryor also has a tendency to duck his head slightly before contact, losing sight of the ball-carrier. I saw a few plays where Pryor let the ball-carrier slip away because the he juked slightly before Pryor made contact and Pryor had his head down.
Now that we have that out of the way, as a nice little bonus Pryor also fairly adept at rushing the quarterback from the edge and almost looks like a small defensive end at times.
Well....that's not what I expected to hear.
Yeah, Pryor is certainly not a finished product and has a long way to go before he fulfills his potential. That's the thing about the draft though, it's not about what a player is, but what a team thinks he will wind up becoming. Teams have to project what a player's ceiling is and weigh it against the risk that he won't come close to meeting that potential. Pryor certainly has potential. His athleticism, while not once-in-a-generation, is certainly enough to push Pryor to top-10 safety level if paired with good technique. Therein lies the rub though, that Pryor's technique is inconsistent enough that he might not ever reach the heights that his athleticism suggests. When I weigh that risk, I just can't justify selecting Pryor at 21. That isn't to say I wouldn't want the Packers to pick Pryor, I just think that potential meets risk closer to the start of the second round.
Bring on the highlights!
Big hits are fun guys (and gals).
Ultimate Calvin Pryor Highlights | HD (via TheFootballman175)