Draft Daily: One-On-One With Pryor

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-Miami vs Louisville
Calvin Pryor
was on the road en route to Cincinnati when Birds 24/7 caught up with him.

Considered the top safety in this draft class alongside Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Louisville slugger has been a man in demand during the pre-draft process. His travels have taken him to Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Chicago and New Orleans, he says. Up next, the Bengals. And next week he’s scheduled to meet with the Falcons and Jets.

Philadelphia is not on the itinerary, however, and the Eagles have not held a private workout for Pryor. Does that mean he is off the team’s radar?

Not necessarily. Pre-draft visits don’t always speak to draft-day intentions. And it’s not like the Eagles haven’t done their homework on the 5-11, 207- pound bruiser.

Pryor said he had a 15-minute meeting with the Eagles’ brass at the combine, where he was asked about his background and his family life, among other things. He talked football with one of the defensive backs coaches.

“They said they would love to have me, and if they draft me I would love to be there,” said Pryor. “But that’s with any team. Every team says something in that way.”

Chip Kelly also attended Louisville’s Pro Day and spoke with Pryor afterwards.

“It was very good talking to him. He let me know I did very well and that he was very impressed,” said Pryor. “He’s heading Philadelphia in the right direction.”

Safe to say, Pryor’s style of play resonates with this fan base.

Watch the way he sacrifices his body in the name of a big hit, the fear factor that he brings to the middle of the field, and it almost reminds you of…

Brian Dawkins,” said Pryor, when asked what safeties he looked up to when he was young and impressionable. (Dawkins was the only name he mentioned.) Pryor’s uncle, Perez Davis, played offensive line for Clemson when Dawkins was there and would always talk the safety up. Pryor followed Dawkins’ career with the Eagles, and his approach hit home.

“I was a big fan of Brian Dawkins,” he said. “He’s very intelligent as well. I’ve had people say that plenty of times. He’s very smart. And when you’re very intelligent like that, you’re able to play fast.”

Pryor was even hoping to attend Clemson, but the coaching staff wanted him to play running back. He opted for Louisville and the chance to punish people instead. He racked up 218 tackles (11 for a loss), seven interceptions and nine forced fumbles in his three years with the Cardinals. The Florida native, who ran a 4.58 at the combine, is projected to go in the first round, though opinions vary as to exactly how early. Pryor plans on hanging out in the green room in New York on draft day and just taking it as it comes.

There are two questions as it pertains to the Eagles: 1) Will he be there at 22, and 2) is he a fit for Billy Davis‘ defense? Howie Roseman noted at the combine that there are some defensive players “that may be highly rated by other teams [but] may not be factors for us because they don’t fit.” Kelly and Davis want versatile safeties that are interchangeable [see Malcolm Jenkins]. Pryor is sometimes labeled as more of a strong safety because of his hitting prowess and the way that he was deployed at Lousiville.

“It goes way deeper than that, man,” said Pryor. “People better understand what type of defensive scheme you’re playing in. Some schemes don’t allow you to play as much man. Some schemes you play fire zone. It’s all different depending on what type of scheme you play. I know what type of ability I have.”

Pryor had 18 passes defensed while at Louisville to go with the seven picks.

“Calvin has proven that he can cover, he can run and is quick while also being a real enforcer in the back,” said agent Isaac Conner. “He is a tough, hard-nosed kid and that’s the city of Philadelphia. He would be a nice fit for the Eagles.”

It’s yet to be seen whether the Eagles feel the same way, or if they’ll even have the opportunity to pull the trigger.

“They have to make that decision,” said Pryor. “What I have to do is continue to focus on me, practice my craft as best I can, keep working out and whatever happens, happens.”

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