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Louisville's Calvin Pryor Looks to Lead 2014 Safety Class

Posted Apr 8, 2014

Louisville safety Calvin Pryor hopes to separate himself from the competition heading into next month's NFL Draft.

When perusing the premier options at the safety position in May, the discussion inevitably and quickly turns to a pair of names separating themselves from the rest of the class—Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor.

Pryor enters this spring as perhaps the most well-rounded of all safety prospects. In addition to his distinction as one of the harder-hitting members of this year’s class of defensive backs, and also has proven to be a valued commodity in pass defense. In his junior season at Louisville, the 5’11, 207-pound Pryor was named first-team All-American Conference after a year in which he grabbed three interceptions, including one against likely top-10 draft pick Blake Bortles of Central Florida.

PHOTO GALLERY: #RamsDraftProspect: Louisville S Calvin Pryor

After spending the early portion of his college career primarily in coverage, Pryor has prided himself on the development of all aspects of his game.

“I feel like I’m a very versatile player,” Pryor said while meeting with media at the NFL Combine in February. “I can drop in the middle of the field and cover a lot of range, and just break on the ball. My first two years, I played mostly in the middle of the field, but as you become a playmaker, coaches begin to move you around and you have an ability to play all over the place. I’m very confident in my game and my film speaks for itself. I can play strong safety, free safety. I can come up and hit and I can cover.”

WATCH: Calvin Pryor's #NFLCombine Press Conference

Those attributes could make Pryor an attractive commodity for the Rams, who will likely be in the draft market for a safety in May. In a recent mock draft featuring six CBSSports.com panelists, Pryor is named as high as a 14th overall pick, but could elevate to the Rams at 13th overall if he manages to supplant Clinton-Dix as the top safety in the draft over the next five weeks.

Pryor has spent much of the past season working to move away from being pigeon-holed as strictly a coverage-first defender.

In addition to his stat line, Pryor has gained accolades for his knowledge of the game, as evidenced by being tasked with making the defensive calls for Louisville last fall, a responsibility that Pryor adjusted to naturally over the course of a 12-1 season for the Cardinals.

“You have to do so much (at the safety position),” Pryor said. “You’ve got to have an IQ, an understanding of formations, and you have to be able to adjust to all of those things.

With Pryor at safety, Louisville held its opponents to 10 or fewer points in eight of the team’s 13 games, including a 36-9 win over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

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