Atlanta needs a starting safety in the worst possible way after striking out in free agency. Calvin Pryor of the Louisville Cardinals would be a great fit next to William Moore in the Falcons defense. The way the Falcons' Mike Nolan runs a freelancing style at safety, it would make sense to look into an all-around player.
According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons have had a private workout with the Cardinals safety. It makes a ton of sense, as Atlanta should be looking at any and all options to replace the declining and departed Thomas DeCoud.
University of Louisville
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 5'11-1/8" Weight: 207 pounds
Arm Length: 31-3/8" Hand Measurement: 9-1/8"
40 yard dash: 4.58 sec. 10 yard split: 1.59 sec.
20 yard shuttle: 4.30 sec. 3-cone Drill: 6.98 sec. Bench Reps: 18 reps
Vertical Jump: 34.5" Broad Jump: 9'8"
2013: 12 Games Played, 75 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles for Loss, 3 QB Hurries, 3 Interceptions, 2 Fumbles Forced, 1 Fumble Recovered, 4 Pass Deflections
2012: 13 Games Played, 99 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 1 QB Hurry, 2 Interceptions, 4 Fumbles Forced, 1 Fumble Recovered, 5 Pass Deflections
2011: 13 Games Played, 43 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 2 Interceptions, 2 Fumbles Forced, 5 Pass Deflections
Pryor is a big hitter who knows how to jar the ball loose when tackling guys. He’s played both strong and free safety throughout his career. He also played on special teams and was more than effective as a gunner. He wasn’t afraid to hit anyone.
He’s a great athlete that plays with an firecracker under his shoulder pads on every play. He’s extremely effective against the run, but the most underrated part of his game is his coverage ability. He’s able to play any zone coverage effectively and does well in man against slower receivers.
Pryor is a gambler in every sense of the word. He will try to time plays and will miss on his assessments as often as he is right about them. He needs to understand that he can’t play as undisciplined as he has in the past. He tends to go for the big hit instead of the wrap up a lot and misses a few too many tackles.
He also needs to get his footwork in check, as sometimes he has wasted movements. Technically, he needs to get much better before he even comes close to a Pro Bowl. He also needs to take better angles to the ball-carriers against the run.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Despite never being arrested, Pryor was suspended for a game in 2013 for violating a team rule. The Falcons will want to talk with his college coaches about what the rule was. It could be as simple as being late for curfew or as complicated as a drug issue.
If that checks out, Pryor does have some positives. He did graduate college already, despite being just a Junior with a degree in Communications. Pryor was never a captain for the Cardinals despite being one of their better players.
Pryor is a really good safety in this year’s draft. His Troy Polamalu-esque gambling style does help him quite a bit at times. However, if he learned discipline, he’d be a much better safety than he is now. With good coaching, he could be in a Pro Bowl as a rookie.
The combination of him and Moore would give the Falcons a pair of safeties that love to knock the poop out of guys. Add in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford and Atlanta's defensive back group looks like it could be scary good for a long time.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
If the Falcons did want to bring in Pryor, some trading would likely have to happen, as he’s not worth No. 6 overall and isn’t going to fall to No. 37 overall. Atlanta could trade down a good bit and select him in the high teens.
Or they could trade up with their No. 37 overall pick into the mid-to-late 20s and select him there. If they did happen to get Pryor, he would be an instant starter at free safety. He would be asked to do a lot in the defense and would be more than capable of filling the role.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.