Rising up many draft boards for his vision and his big-hitting ability, Calvin Pryor has been a winner of the pre-draft process. Pryor and Hakeem Smith were possibly the best safety tandem in all of college football last year. Smith was your prototypical strong safety, while Pryor is the epitome of a free safety. He plays with a lot of range, and his build is perfect to play the position in the NFL.
In Dom Capers‘ defense, turnovers are the most important thing. In 2011, when the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, the Packers led the league in turnovers. Statistically speaking, the Packers were one of the worst defenses in the NFL that year, but they still managed to get takeaways. But ever since Charles Woodson spurned the Packers for the Oakland Raiders, they have missed that player who is a ball-hawk. With his vision, Pryor could very well be a good ball-hawker in the NFL.
Cornerback Sam Shields may not come back in 2014, so the Packers need to get some help in the secondary. A cornerback like Justin Gilbert could very well be in play, but Pryor would most likely be the best player available on the Packers’ board. Green Bay has received subpar play from M.D. Jennings, and the position could be upgraded. It may be a stretch, but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could also be an option for the Packers if they fall in love with him. The problem with Clinton-Dix is that the Packers would most likely have to trade up in the first round to select him.
Another player who the Packers could bring in to upgrade the safety position is Louis Delmas. I’m one of those people who believes in drafting a good foundation instead of signing players in free agency. Delmas has had a history of injuries, and it would be a burden to see the Packers give him the money that he would be looking for.
If drafted by the Packers, Pryor could come right in and be a day one starter. With a bunch of needs, the Packers should pick the best defensive player available. At their pick, Pryor could very well be that guy. Ted Thompson has a ton of work to do to make this team better. While history is on his side, it will cost a lot to improve this defense. As Clay Matthews has regressed and B.J. Raji may be leaving for free agency, it looks like the Packers’ pass rush may not be as good as it has been, which puts a lot of pressure on the secondary.
While he is not a finished product just yet, Pryor would be able to make an immediate impact on a team that needs better overall play from the safety position in general.