Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals safety Calvin Pryor (25) waves his arms to the crowd in the fourth quarter as theCardinals beat the Miami Hurricanes 36-9 to win the Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Overview: After hearing the news that Calvin Pryor made a pre-draft visit to the Chicago Bears, I thought it might be a good idea to show you guys exactly what the Bears might be getting themselves into. While being voted first team All-AAC (American Athletic Conference) as a junior in 2013, Pryor recorded 75 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, and forced 2 fumbles. If you watched any Louisville games this past season (barring the Memphis game, as he was suspended for violating team rules) you undoubtedly noticed Pryor, because he was constantly around the ball.
- Aggressive in run support. Flies up to the line when he reads run and isn’t afraid to stick his nose in the pile.
- Absolutely demolishes ball carriers. To call this guy a big-hitter is a massive understatement. Launches himself into tackles with reckless abandon.
- Plays fast. The 4.58 he ran in the 40 at the combine doesn’t do him justice. Covers a lot of space during the course of a play.
- Instinctive. Reads run/pass well and always seems to be around the ball.
- Solid in coverage. While not elite, he does show the ability to flip his hips and run with receivers.
- Good Timing. Arrives when the ball does most of the time.
- Intriguing ball skills. Stats don’t exactly show it, but has the ability to make some spectacular catches.
- Poor tackling technique. Goes for the big hit too much and doesn’t use his arms to wrap up, leading to some missed tackles.
- Plays out of control. When he misses a play, he misses big.
- Head-hunter. Leads with his head too much and, unless he changes his playing style, will rack up a lot of penalties in the NFL.
NFL Player Comparison: Brandon Meriweather, Washington Redskins. Many of you will scoff at this comparison, but not so fast. There is a lot to like about Calvin Pryor, but there was a lot to like about Meriweather when he came out in 2007 as well. Both have all the physical skills needed to be a successful starting safety in the NFL, but both have a reckless playing style that doesn’t translate in today’s safety-first NFL. Like Meriweather, I expect Pryor to have difficulty adjusting and draw a slew of penalties. Remember, Brandon Meriweather made a Pro Bowl while he was with the New England Patriots.
The Way I See It: I don’t like this pick at 14 for the Bears. While his physical attributes and play-making ability are enticing, I think the bust factor is just too high. Remember when all those people were so excited when the Bears signed Brandon Meriweather in 2011? Remember when those same people were ready to run him out of town after two weeks? I think there’s a strong chance Pryor could get a similar reception.