Another day, another first round prospect for the Ravens in Louisville's Calvin Pryor, a hard hitting safety that has been mocked to the Ravens by various media groups.
The Ravens have made a point of specifically saying that they want a "rangey" safety that can play all over the field and protect the backend. What they are looking for is a compliment to run stuffing, enforcer Matt Elam. At 5-foot-11 and 208 pounds, Pryor has the build of a strong safety
This is where Pryor shines from the game tape I've watched. He is enthusiastic about coming up and hitting and can sometimes be seen creeping towards the line of scrimmage. He will occasionally take bad angles and he almost always lowers his shoulder and launches himself at an opponent rather than square up and form tackle which will lead to him whiffing at the professional level. He will occasionally hit the home run when tackling and lay out an offensive player, but he will put himself at risk for future injury unless he learns the basics of tackling.
Pryor has decent range in a center field type role, but when asked to play a tighter zone coverage, he can be picked on. The aspect that stuck out the most to me is that Pryor often tries to be far enough away from the play to bait a quarterback to throw in his direction in order to lay a crushing blow to the receiver in an enforcer role or he will try and break on the ball to make a play, sometimes missing completely and leaving the receiver to gain additional yardage after the catch. While Pryor has good speed, he doesn't have catchup speed and will often be late towards the sidelines if a quarterback looks him off. If he is in position, Pryor has solid if not spectacular hands but will take gambles rather than play in position.
Pryor was suspended for a game in 2013 for violating an unspecified team rule. Other than that singular hiccup, he appears to keep his nose relatively clean but has displayed neither good or bad character traits and is relatively neutral by all accounts.
While Pryor is listed as a free safety, he has all the markings of a strong safety. He has some play making ability but will be more of a liability in coverage. He is incredibly strong against the run and enjoys laying big hits but uses poor technique that will see him frequently penalized as a professional unless he changes his ways. Pryor is going to be good for 2-4 interceptions per year mostly by baiting mediocre quarterbacks into throwing where they shouldn't but will also give up far more yardage and scores than you would want to see from a free safety. Some team will draft Pryor more for his enforcer ability than for his coverage skills and will likely see him turn into a Bernard Pollard type player.
Ultimately, I don't see anything from Pryor's game that fits with what the Ravens would need from the position. Though that might not stop them from grabbing him in the first round, it would change what the Ravens would want to do in scheme a great deal. I feel like the Ravens could find a different safety that has more range in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th rounds that might not have as high of a ceiling as Pryor but would fit the scheme far better and be a better value.