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NFL Prospect Focus: Louisville

DeVante Parker, Preston Brown, and Calvin Pryor are NFL-bound. Greg Gabriel

Print This December 21, 2013, 07:00 AM EST

Depending on how many underclassmen leave, Louisville could have 6-8 players drafted next spring. I have previously written about Teddy Bridgewater, and today, I will write about receiver DeVante Parker, linebacker Preston Brown, and safety Calvin Pryor. Both Pryor and Parker are juniors, and word on the street is that the odds are they will enter the draft.

Preston Brown – Linebacker

Brown is a fourth-year senior and a three-year starter. He has excellent size, speed, and athleticism. I estimate his size at 6’2 – 255 and he runs in the 4.75-4.80 range. He is a good athlete to go along with good strength and explosion. He flashes being a playmaker and can be physically tough at the point of attack. He shows he can get rid of blocks, fill, and make plays close to the line of scrimmage. It is bothersome that he doesn’t seem to have top instincts. On some plays, he will react quickly, but there are others where he has no idea where the ball is. This will often happen on misdirection and play-action type plays. He is a good pursuit player who shows his speed and takes good angles to the ball. He can be a physical tackler who hits and wraps. In pass coverage, he shows good drop quickness, gets depth, and is aware. He does a good job keeping things in front of him. His ball reactions are good, and he can plant and drive on the ball. As a pass rusher, he is more of a power rusher but will use moves at times. He shows good hand use to take on and shed blocks.

Brown has top physical traits, and with those traits, he should be able to dominate. The problem is, he doesn’t dominate but is more of a flash player. His lack of top instincts is what is holding him back. He should be an eventual starter in the league and is a solid “B” level player (third – fourth round).

DeVante Parker – Receiver

Parker is a third year junior and has been a regular player for Louisville since his freshman year. He is a big receiver who has estimated size of 6’2½ - 210. He is a semi-strider with good play speed (4.50) and a burst to go after the ball. Parker has good overall athleticism and body control to go along with very good leaping ability. He flashes running good routes but can get sloppy and round cuts or not finish a route. Once the ball is in the air, he tracks it well and has very good hands. He will have some concentration drops. As good as Parker's traits are, there are games where he doesn’t do much. He may catch six or seven balls in one game and then one the next week. His traits are too dominant to have inconsistent production like that. After the catch, Parker is a strong runner showing his burst. While he is not overly elusive, he can break tackles. Once the ball is in the air, Parker uses his size to his advantage. He can outjump most defensive backs and is good at high-pointing the ball.

Overall, Parker has the traits to be a very good NFL receiver. He needs to play with more consistency. With the talent he has, he should start early in his career. In a couple of seasons, he could be a solid number two receiver.

Calvin Pryor – Safety

Pryor is a third-year junior and has been starting since his freshman year. He is a big, physical safety who loves to hit and throw his body around. His estimated size is 6’2 -210, and he has very good play speed. I would estimate his speed at 4.48. To go along with size and speed, Pryor is a very good athlete. He can change direction, plays with bend, and has a smooth turn. He shows he has a quick and low back pedal and can come out of his pedal and break on the ball without wasted steps.

Depending on the defense called, Pryor can be lined up both deep or near the line of scrimmage. He is an instinctive, quick reacting player who almost always seems to be in the right position. He is very good in run support, reacting quickly and being physical. He comes up and does a very good job getting rid of blocks and is an excellent tackler. He is one of the more explosive tacklers I have seen this year. Pryor is a top competitor who consistently chases the ball and always takes good angles.

In coverage, you don’t see him in man coverage much, but he is a very good zone player who does an excellent job picking up receivers crossing into his zone. He has excellent range to get to the sideline and help out over the top. His awareness is usually very good, but I did see him blow a coverage in one game where he was late reacting to a receiver breaking deep. Other than that play, his reactions have been good. While you don’t see him play man-to-man coverage, he has the tools to be a very good man-cover player. You see his hips and turn ability while in zone.

Pryor is one of the better safeties I have seen this year. He has the tools to be a top NFL safety and can play either strong or free. He has excellent size and can be a violent hitter. I see him as a starter his rookie year. A very solid “A” level player who should be drafted high.

Follow me on twitter @greggabe

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