Originally posted by GhostofFredDean74:
I'm also not convinced that Bucannon is the top SS in the draft. Though not listed as a SS, I think Calvin Pryor could easily slide into a SS role with his size, physicality and the way he plays the run. I'm also partial to Jimmie Ward who brings great cover skills to the SS position. It's probably a matter of taste, but I'd prefer the last two guys over Bucannon
If there's one thing that might end up holding back Pryor in the NFL, it's something that we don't yet know much about: his ability in coverage. While Pryor has looked very fast and athletic whenever he's been on the field at Louisville, he really hasn't been tested a whole lot with covering receivers in the slot as Louisville runs a scheme where their safeties tend to either stay back or come up to play the run.Because of his inexperience in the facet of the game, Pryor's combine performance could play a bigger-than-usual role in determining whether he can slide into the end of the first round or falls to the second.
In addition, Pryor needs to make sure that he stays disciplined in this era of overaggressive officiating against defensive backs. While his hitting ability can definitely be a plus for whoever he ends up with, he needs to make sure that he stays under control and doesn't end up hurting his team with costly penalties.
Consistent, aggressive tackler
Effective when coming up to play in the box
Interchangeable between strong and free safety positions
Good projectable size
Hasn't been used much in man coverage, a skill he must have to succeed in a traditional free safety role. Doesn't have a whole lot of experience playing against prime competition his relentless hard hits may make him a target for fines or suspension in the NFL.
Pryor had a very effective 2013 season, finishing second on the Cardinals with 75 total tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss. He also had three interceptions, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles. His greatest impact, however, came from the immense amount of energy that he provided to the Louisville defense with his all-out play and magnificent hitting ability.
(2014 Draft Projection: First round-2nd round talent)
as for Jimmie Ward
Ward's freshmen year was one spent mostly on special teams and as a back-up free safety. On special teams, Ward blocked three punts, one of which he returned for a touchdown. On defense, playing sparingly, Ward tallied 21 tackles, a forced fumble and a pass break up.
In his sophomore year, Ward started 12 of 14 games. He had a sack, an interception and recorded at least five tackles in 12 games. Ward also blocked another kick in his sophomore year.
Ward's junior year saw him start 13 of 14 games and emerge as a play-maker on the Huskie's defense. Racking up over 100 tackles, intercepting three passes and defending eight passes, Ward began to emerge as a defensive presence.
This year, Ward already has 74 tackles, a sack, six interceptions, four blocked punts and five passes defended. And the season is not over yet. The film on Ward is not voluminous yet, but given his play on the field over the last two seasons, it's bound to grow, especially as the Draft approaches.
Ward displays an above-average ability to shed blocks during run plays. Ward also takes good angles when in run support to tackle the runner.
Ward is very good at keeping the play in front of him and not allowing big gains when he is in coverage. What he may lack in coverage skills, he makes up in his ability to recover and catch up with the receiver.
Ward, as evident by his stats this season, but also confirmed from the tape study, confirms that he has above-average ball skills. In the Toledo game, Ward makes a remarkable interception. Ward is in man coverage against the receiver, with whom he stays with in a crossing pattern. When the ball is approaching the receiver, a well-thrown ball too, Ward is able to jar it from the receiver's hands with one of his hands, and then track the ball and catch it with his other hand. It is a play that a very few talented professional football players make, let alone college football players.
Ward has an above-average ability to diagnose whether the play is going to be a run or pass. This allows him to keep many plays in front of him, because he is not misdiagnosing a run as a pass or a pass as a run. When a safety misdiagnoses a play in that manner, they are susceptible to being beat deep.
Ward is a hard hitter who tackles well, almost always going low for the waist or legs.
Ward can also be utilized as an effective blitzer. He displays speed coming off the edge, and that speed, combined with his ability to shed blocks, allows him to at least pressure the quarterback, even if he doesn't get a sack.
Ward is also an impact player on special teams.
Ward tends to tackle low, which is the correct tackling that the NFL enforces, however, given the larger players at the professional level, it has to be of concern that this could lead to broken tackles. While he is willing to support the run defense, he seldom is the lone run stopper.
While Ward is capable of keeping up with wide receivers from the Mid Atlantic Conference, he could struggle covering NFL wide receivers. In fact, the primary concern with Ward is his ability to adjust from the MAC to the NFL and the level of competition that comes with it.
Ward may not be getting all the attention that other defensive backs are garnering, however, Ward has the size, speed and talent to be an impact player on an NFL team. He could be utilized in sub packages by the right defensive coordinator almost immediately, and on special teams.
Ward, barring a superb Senior Bowl performance, is looking at a day three selection in the NFL Draft. At this point a second day selection looks as if it'd be a best-case scenario.