The Baltimore Ravens are currently in the market for a free safety, and they might need to double down on this year’s top FS prospect. I have seen players who can hit and then I have seen players with a nose for the ball, but rarely have I seen both in one player — well, not since a ball hawking future Hall of Famer that used to line up in the Baltimore secondary. I mentioned previously that the Jim Thorpe Award was given to the wrong person, and I was right. Calvin Pryor is the best DB in college football, and I am about to let the world know why.
When evaluating tape on most free safeties you have to dig deep, because if they have good technique they are not on the screen because their name is self-explanatory. Safety: the last line of defense. This is normally the case; unless your name is Calvin Pryor. He’ll be seen all over the place and all QBs, RBs, WRs, coaches, towel-boys and anyone who decided to purchase a ticket needs to keep their head on a swivel. When this freak of nature goes downhill in run support or to make an open-field tackle, he will drop the hammer. He reminds me of Bob Sanders in his prime with the Indianapolis Colts.
What I love about this guy is although he lays the wood on tackles, he is smart enough to break down at times and not let the ball-carrier get past him. He knows how to wrap up and plays smart football. Pryor finished the year with 71 tackles (52 solo) and three interceptions. His best game of the season was against Rutgers when the Louisville star managed 14 tackles (11 solo) and an interception on the evening. That game opened eyes around the world. He will fit in very well with Matt Elam and James Ihedigbo in the secondary.
Not only is this safety great on the ground, but his coverage in cover-2 formations is flawless. He definitely has a nose for the ball — whether by land or air he will be there. My only knock on the 6-foot-2 208-pound standout is that he gets caught looking in the backfield flat-footed on single high coverage, occasionally. Every once in a while, the guy lets a receiver slip past him because of it. Ed Reed was known for giving up a few big plays in his time as well, but it was usually because Reed was gambling trying to make the big play. Baltimore needs a gambler like Pryor. The Ravens would be on cloud-nine if such a player would drop to them with the No. 16 or 17 overall pick (coin-flip with Dallas Cowboys). There are guys who Ozzie Newsome has said in the past according to the team’s website that “play like a Raven;” Calvin Pryor is one of them.