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Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Preview: FS Calvin Pryor

March 24th, 2014 at 5:04 AM
By Steve Smith

'nfl_logo_on_field' photo (c) 2012, NFL News Desk Admin - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
With Tyrann Mathieu currently recovering from ACL and LCL surgery, the Arizona Cardinals could use more help at the safety position.

The Red Birds will be drafting 20th overall in this year's NFL Draft. Let's take a look at a player that may be available to them when they are officially on the clock.

That player is free safety Calvin Pryor of the University of Louisville. Here is his scouting report via cbssports.com:

STRENGTHS: Prototype body type with good anticipation and explosive closing speed. Reliable open-field tackler and intimidating presence. Lowers his shoulder on impact to create collisions in run support and when protecting the middle of the field in coverage. Good vision and spatial awareness to slip amongst the mass of humanity near the line of scrimmage to locate the ball. Shows no desire for self-preservation when taking on blockers, dropping to take them out at the knees and often is able to take out the ballcarrier. Very good ball skills. Can extend and pluck outside of his frame and shows excellent awareness to get his feet inbounds.

WEAKNESSES: Almost too physical in an era in which heavy hitters often draw penalty flags. Drops his shoulder into defenders but some of his hits could be interpreted as leading with the crown of his helmet. Wasn't asked to cover slot receivers in Louisville's scheme. A bit stiff when changing direction, allowing some separation by receivers, especially on double-moves.

COMPARES TO: Antrel Rolle, Giants – Pryor is blessed with an exciting combination of size, explosiveness and ball skills to quickly become one of the most respected defensive backs in the league early in his career.

Player Overview: Hakeem Smith and Pryor formed one of the best safety tandems in the country in 2013, compiling 69 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, three interceptions and two forced fumbles, on his way to earning 2013 All-American Athletic Conference first-team honors. Has prototypical size and athleticism for the position and is one of the most well-round safeties in the class with explosive downhill reaction to the run, strong awareness in coverage and versatility to hold his own on the outside or in the slot. Pryor has elite tools and potential if he can harness his sledgehammer playing style with disciplined intensity.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Calvin Pryor, Football, NFL, Tyrann Mathieu

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