For many Philly fans, the upcoming NFL Draft is arguably the most anticipated draft in recently history. With the major shifts going on within the culture of the team, it seems that there is not a single fan, analyst, or NFL insider who can definitively get a grip on what exactly Chip Kelly plans to do with the 22nd overall pick.
Will the Eagles go ahead and try to fill the huge shoes of former deep-threat Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson, a difference-making defensive back, or will Philadelphia look to add a big, physical pass rusher to their defensive front? Unfortunately, we will all have to wait until May 8th to answer that question. However, there is one thing I can say with confidence:
The Philadelphia Eagles should not draft Louisville free safety Calvin Pryor 22nd overall.
For months now the prominent rumor surrounding the Eagles’ first round draft situation has been highlighted by the Eagles taking Pryor in a majority of mock drafts. In fact, it has become widely accepted by the fan base that the Eagles will and should draft him in the first round.
After watching Calvin Pryor’s game film while at Louisville and analyzing the current state of the Eagles, I am totally confident in my conviction that Pryor would be a proverbial square peg in a round hole for Philadelphia in the first round.
For starters, safety is by no means the biggest need on the depth chart. After losing Patrick Chung, the Eagles picked up depth at the position by scooping up former New Orleans free safety Malcolm Jenkins and safety/special teams ace Chris Maragos. Those two, coupled with the Eagles safeties Earl Wolff and Nate Allen make for a formidable enough safety corps to allow the Eagles to pass on taking a safety if the value is not right, which Pryor’s is not.
That brings up another huge issue with this fit, the value.
In the NFL Draft, “value” is the correlation between a prospect’s potential talent and the team’s position when they draft him. A team should rarely draft a prospect in the first round simply off of his potential. The best bet is for the team to find a prospect who fits a glaring need for the team, while making sure he has the ability to make a significant immediate impact at the next level.
While Pryor is an extremely gifted athlete, he needs to develop more as an actual safety to warrant a first round pick from any team in the first round- let alone a team without a glaring need for a safety in the first place. I do believe Pryor has all of the athletic ability in the world, but I also believe that there is no way he can come in and make an immediate impact for the Eagles in 2014-2015. If there was any scenario where Philadelphia could move up in the mid-second round to take Pryor, I would feel extremely comfortable with the value in that pick- though I expect him to be selected by a team in the first round. Still, I don’t see first round potential in the kid and I do not believe he is poised to make an instant impact.
With all of that being said, I would love to see Philadelphia make a splash by either bulking up their defensive line or by adding a young, stud wide receiver with the 22nd overall pick. I absolutely anticipate the Eagles going ahead and drafting a developmental safety with a mid-round pick, but to impulsively reach for a guy who has raw, uncertain talent is not a good idea or fit for this organization. Hopefully the Eagles recognize the uncertainty in Calvin Pryor and choose to go down a different avenue in the first round. Only time will tell.
Pryor recorded 71 tackles and 3 interceptions for Louisville in 2013.