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NFL

Louisville's Pryor is big hit among safety prospects

| Monday, May 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed changed the safety position, making it more of an all-over-the-field job than one based mostly in center field.

The second generation of these safeties includes Earl Thomas, Eric Berry and Jairus Byrd, who recently signed a $54 million, six-year contract with the Saints.

Up next: the latest safety hybrid, Calvin Pryor of Louisville, plus another, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama, who enjoys staying back in coverage and waiting for the big hit.

“I want the ballhawk. I want the guy with range. I want the center field guys, the Willie Mays guy,” said NFL Network analyst Charles Davis, who prefers Clinton-Dix over Pryor.

However, former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah said, “(Jets coach) Rex Ryan used to always say that the one thing that changes a complexion more than anything in a game was not a turnover, but a big hit.”

So teams looking to draft a safety in the first round must make up their minds: Do they want the guy who can take away the home-run ball, or the one who delivers the big hit?

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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