Calvin Pryor   S   Louisville


Calvin reminds me of safety Donte Whitner. He has good size and the speed to run down players from behind and is quick to come up and support the run even when he is playing the single safety position and is lined up 40 yards away from the line of scrimmage. Calvin has played all over the defensive backfield and in nickel-dime coverage is sometimes used as a zone cover corner on the outside because he is stout against the run and has the right size and length for making plays from that position. Playing Calvin there discourages teams from running those stretch plays around the outside that so many college teams run on third and long. Calvin can handle some zone coverage as a corner in a pinch because of his size and “run support” attitude. He’s also terrific playing the free safety position or the strong safety position and this type of athletic talent is what most teams look for now in a college defensive back. The problem is, I’m not convinced that Calvin has the football intelligence to handle multiple positions at the next level at this point in his career because Calvin is a guesser.

Calvin is what I call a “guesser” safety. He comes up in run support more quickly than most, but continuously takes bad angles and misses tackles trying to make the big nit. He seems confused in zone coverage and consistently gets beat. He lets receivers behind him because he is so interested in supporting the run. He looks into the backfield way too long and gets fooled by smart quarterbacks at the college level. In single coverage as a free safety, he doesn’t keep the play in front of him and receivers are beating him on crossing routes because his first move is to step up instead of back on the snap of the ball. When he is up near the line of scrimmage, he does a good job in coverage on the short routes but still doesn’t have the vision or understanding of what routes are being used against him to clear him out for other receivers.

I’m sure Calvin is going to impress a lot of teams with his wild and inconsistent play on the field because he is flashy. When he comes from the single safety position to support the run he looks like a heat seeking missile; unfortunately, most of the time he flames out taking the wrong angle or missing the tackle. He is a sloppy tackler, but once he gets his hands on a player, he usually makes the tackle. The biggest problem that I have about Calvin is he doesn’t play smart. He doesn’t understand the passing game or the running game. If he did, he would not get beat over the top and he would take better angles when supporting the run. Calvin guesses and, when his guesses are correct, he wows the uniformed and easily manipulated evaluator. I waited to see the combine numbers on Calvin and I have to tell you he plays faster than he timed at the combine, but what I wanted to see was his change of direction skills and explosion when he changed direction because a player who takes as many poor angles as Calvin does usually is lacking those important skills. Calvin did not run the short shuttle and that’s the drill that tells me if a player has good changing of direction. The lack of change of direction skills is the root cause for missing tackles when a player takes the wrong angles. This can be overcome if a player plays with more discipline, but that’s not in Calvin’s mental makeup. His play on the field suggests that discipline is best left to his teammates and not to him. That’s why he reminds me of Donta Whitner who is a serviceable and solid safety, but not a player who I’d draft in the 1st round to run my defensive backfield.

Drew Boylhart