About a week ago, selecting a free safety in the first round of the draft made a lot of sense for the Philadelphia Eagles. That is, to anyone who watched the Eagles in 2013 and saw Patrick Chung, Nate Allen and Earl Wolff. Chung is gone, Allen remains a free agent and Wolff, the Eagles hope, is a developing talent.
The Eagles can’t just address this position with one free-agent signing. Malcolm Jenkins is an upgrade for them, but he’s not going to solve every problem in the secondary.
But, perhaps, if you pair him with Louisville’s Calvin Pryor that just might get it done. And that’s why it makes sense that in his Mock Draft 3.0, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projected Pryor to the Eagles with the 22nd pick in the first round. Jenkins is a free safety, best in coverage. Pryor is more of an in-the-box safety, best on the move against the run.
Pryor would give the Eagles their own version of Kam Chancellor (though not nearly as big) or Troy Polamalu, a guy who can make plays in the box and hit with force. Pryor is fast enough and athletic enough to develop in coverage. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds; not a blazer, but fast enough. Where he would can really help is against the run; he’s aggressive in this area and does a good job of seeking out ball carriers.
Pryor has to show he can cover tight ends. But if he does, the Eagles would have solved a nagging issue at safety -- first with Jenkins and then with Pryor. Of course, then they’ll have to address the pass rush and possibly corner depth. But this would be a good start.