Calvin Pryor 2014 NFL Draft Profile

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The Cardinals played Pryor at free safety, and he was used in a variety of different roles, including as a single-high FS. That versatility will carry over to the NFL, but his ability to play free safety will depend on his instincts in coverage, patience, football acumen, speed, and coverage skills in general. Pryor run defense and blitzing- he had a pair of quality blitzes against Miami, as well as a particularly nasty second quarter blitz on Blake Bortles- seem to make him better-suited as an in-the-box SS, but his coverage skills make things more hazy. Unlike Ward, he isn’t great in man coverage underneath, but he also shows flashes when he cuts underneath routes.

Check out the play below in the UConn game. He doesn’t come up with the interception and the wide receiver makes the catch, but keep in mind that Pryor was in zone coverage and was closer to the receiver lined up in the left slot. The wideout who made the catch was lined up on the outside and cutting in on a drag route, so Pryor should receive credit for showing the foresight to try to cut in and break up the pass. He nearly pulled it off, and he would have come up with the interception if he were just a tad quicker to the punch.

If you want to see a really frustrating play for Calvin Pryor, then check out his missed opportunity against talented UCF back Storm Johnson early on in the game. As he usually does, Pryor read the running play perfectly, and he has Johnson one-on-one near the sideline with nothing around either player. But instead of making the tackle and stopping the play in its tracks, Pryor causes the Louisville defense to surrender a big gain by taking a very poor angle and not making the tackle. It’s something that Pryor does more often than he should, and it always puzzles me how a player with his ability to read running plays leaves himself in an unfavorable position due to poor angles. This is something that should improve with experience, but his susceptibility to taking poor angles is one thing that makes him a bit of a risky draft prospect if taken too high.

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