The Eagles enter the offseason with a big hole at safety. Starter Nate Allen is a free agent, as our key special teams and depth safeties Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. On top of those possibly departing defensive backs, starter Pat Chung is likely to be jettisoned as soon as possible after a horrific first season in Philadelphia. With four safeties possibly leaving the team, the Eagles have just two soon-to-be second year safeties on the roster in Earl Wolff and Keelan Johnson.
The Eagles will likely look to free agency and the draft to fill the holes in the secondary. At this point, it is not even about upgrading as much as it is actually getting starters for the position. One of the those potential players could be Louisville's Calvin Pryor.
A three-star high school prospect from Port St. Joe, Florida, Pryor was recruited by Louisville. A excelling at both running back and safety in high school, Pryor committed to Louisville as a defensive back. In his freshmen season, Pryor was featured prominently from pretty early on. He finished sixth on the team with 43 tackles (four for loss) to go along with a sack, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five passes defensed.
As a sophomore, Pryor was an All-Big East second team selection, after producing 100 tackles (three for loss), a sack, two interceptions, five force fumbles (led team), a fumble recovery and five pass breakups. Pryor spent his final year at Louisville building on his reputation as a play-maker. The junior safety collected 75 tackles (six for loss), three interceptions, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups. He was named a first team All-AAC selection for his efforts.
Pryor is an absolute athlete, who is both long and quick. He is a heavy-hitter and is a play-maker. In three seasons at Louisville, he caused seven interceptions and nine forced fumbles. He has very good burst and loves laying the wood on opposing receivers and running backs. He was used a lot on blitzes and has the ability to finish.
He is an opportunistic player and takes advantage of other's mistakes. He reads quarterbacks eyes and jumps route with ease. A defensive back with fluid hips, he can play cornerback or defend the slot with little problem. He does not mind playing against the run and is solid near the line of scrimmage.
At 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, Pryor is a big safety that is physically opposing. He has the speed to cover running backs, slot receivers and tight ends.
Pryor is a bit erratic as a tackler. He is pretty consistent about shoulder tackling and needs to break that habit. At times he will lay a big hit that will force him to bounce off the play, as oppose to end the play. There are times where he will hesitate in both coverage and against the run, which will give the offensive player space to make a play. At times, he does not look where is he tackling, which causes him to whiff. Several of these issues are coachable but may show a bit of work that needs to be done for the team that takes him in May.
Listen, the Eagles use could a starting safety (and probably two) no matter how they can get one. Pryor will likely be on the board at No. 22 and should be considered there. Depending on who is on the board, Pryor maybe the most obvious choice for Philadelphia. He has the rare size/speed/play-making skill set that Billy Davis and Kelly love, so he could be a match if the Eagles choose to go safety early in the process.
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