In the coming months (whenever I don't have school keeping me busy), I will be posting spotlights on under-the-radar 2014 NFL Draft Prospects whom I think could fit/fall to the Steelers, or whom I personally like. Here is my first article, which covers Louisville FS Calvin Pryor.
The first thing that you notice about Pryor is his ferocious hitting. He can be compared to Ryan Clark in terms of aggressiveness and reckless abandon when going for a hit. Of course, that style of play will earn him some fines in the NFL, but he would fit in well in the culture of the Pittsburgh Steelers and become a fan favorite early on. That isn't to say that Pryor isn't a good tackler. He is probably has the most sound tackling technique among all DBs in the 2014 Draft. That is what we sorely need right now to keep the big plays that killed us early on this season from happening as often as they did.
Calvin Pryor Big HIT on J.J Worton - Louisville vs Central Florida 10/18/2013 (via Niti T.)
At 6'2" 208 lbs, Pryor is bigger than most safeties. He also has the ability to play both FS and SS positions in the NFL, but he would fit better with the Steelers as our FS and could replace Ryan Clark's role as the back-end protection for Ike (or whoever eventually will be our #1 CB in the future).
While he may not be the fastest guy on the field, he has surprising range and very good instincts to the point that he is rarely caught out of position. He has the athleticism and length to make interceptions all over the field. In this particular play, he makes a one-handed pick on an errant throw by Central Florida's Blake Bortles. He shows not only the athletic ability to go up and make the grab, but has the awareness to get a foot in-bounds while at the same time corralling the football.
Louisville CB Calvin Pryor One-Handed Interception (via flashsport100)
Pryor's major weakness could be his straight-line speed (which is projected to be around a 4.6-4.7 40-Yard Dash). When he does get caught out of position, it is difficult for him to recover and run down a ballcarrier. However, his deceptive range and ability to cover ground quicker than you expect thanks to his instincts could cover that up.
All around, Pryor has the tools and body you want in a Safety. He is the kind of player that can step in and play from Day 1. Right now he is a projected 2nd Round pick, but don't be surprised if he goes in the 1st Round. His 40 time may cause him to fall to the Steelers in the 2nd and it would be wise to take him with Ryan Clark's impending Free Agency, and Shamarko Thomas' status as a SS project.