2014 NFL Draft: Calvin Pryor Prospect Profile

We take a look at likely first round pick Calvin Pryor, safety from Louisville.

This offseason has seen the 49ers lose 60%* of their ‘starting' secondary (Carlos Rogers, Terrell Brown, and Donte Whitner) so it's no secret the both corners and safeties will targeted in this draft. Despite resigning Eric Wright and Perrish Cox and bringing in Antoine Bethea and Chris Cook most expect the 49ers to draft a corner (or two) and a safety in the first three or four rounds.

*I consider all three starters along with Eric Reid and Tremaine Brock.

Depending on how the first round plays out, the 49ers may be in position to add one of the top safeties in this class, Calvin Pryor from Louisville.

The Basics

Height: 5-11
Weight: 207lbs
Arm Length: 31 3/8"
Hand Size: 9 1/8"
40-time: 4.58
Bench Press: 18
Vertical Jump: 34.5"
Broad Jump: 116"

Pros:

  • Tremendous asset in the run game. Pryor quickly identifies run plays and explodes to the necessary gaps to make a play.
  • Instinctual player. Pryor appears to have excellent pre-snap recognition often times diagnosing a play or the direction of a play before the snap. This allows Pryor to play fast, without over thinking his assignments.
  • Physical in-the-box defender with ability to above average ability to cover.
  • Pryor picks through traffic well when tracking the ball carrier and extends his arms at point of attack when taking on blockers. This allows him to shed blocks while keeping his eyes on the ball.
  • Pryor tracks and locates the ball well in coverage.

Cons:

  • Aggressive style of play can often lead to bad angles or leave him susceptible to the play fake.
  • Didn't look great at the combine in workouts or individual drills. (But the tape doesn't lie.) I expected to see Pryor run in the high 4.4s after watching him on film. 4.58 isn't terrible and it's the exact time run by consensus number one safety HaHa Clinton-Dix.
  • When dropping into coverage at Louisville, Pryor was rarely in one-on-one situations.

Do Your Homework:

Check out Pryor here aginast UCF - just wait for the unbelievable INT in the back of the endzone. You can also see Pryor against Cincinnati, Kentucky, Rutgers and others over at DraftBreakdown.com

Why he fits with the 49ers:

There's no question Pryor could fill the shoes of Donte Whitner...he may even be better. Sure the 49ers brought in Antoine Bethea at strong safety but he's not a long term answer. Along with Reid, Pryor would form one of the most formidable safety duos in the NFL. And the youngest too.

Pryor's biggest perceived weakness is his lack of experience in one-on-one coverage situations. That wouldn't be exposed a ton with the 49ers as they do not typically put their safeties on an island. The 49ers also put a premium on run defense, even in the secondary. Pryor might be the best run stopping safety in the draft.

Why he doesn't fit with the 49ers:

As they did last year to acquire Reid, the 49ers will likely have to move up 5-10 spots to secure Pryor. That's not a terrible price to pay but it would probably mean giving up one of their third round picks which may be too rich for their blood. Besides, there are a few safeties to be had in the second and third rounds that would complement the 49ers defense. (Jimmie Ward and Deone Bucannon come to mind.)

That's it. That's all I got on why he wouldn't fit...

What they're saying:

  • NFL Network's Mike Mayock has Pryor as his top safety and called "a bigger version Bob Sanders".
  • Pryor told the Courier-Journal's Jonathan Linter that he's met with 28 of the 32 teams and that he's "been getting good feedback. They've been saying first or early second, but you never know what to expect. I'm just taking it a day at a time and focusing on my craft."
  • SB Nation's Dan Kadar has Pryor as his 24th best prospect and second highest safety.
  • Check out Pryor's stats at cfbstats.com

Conclusion:

After studying the available film on both Pryor and Clinton-Dix in early February I slotted Pryor number one. Nothing has happened since to make me waiver on that ranking. Pryor appears to be the most complete safety in the draft. His strengths seem to be match the traits of a prototypical 49ers defensive back AND whatever limitations he may have in one-on-one coverage wouldn't be exposed regularly, if at all due to scheme. The only drawback would be the potential cost to acquire Pryor. If the 49ers move up in the first, it'll likely be to grab a corner or receiver they're high on. The good news is the depth at the three main positions of need (WR, CB, S) for the 49ers is outstanding. There's a real opportunity to come away with a top five or six prospect at each position.

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