The NFL’s 2016 season saw action from 22 former Louisville Cardinals on 15 different teams, with at least one player representing each position in football. The 2016 NFL Draft also felt the Louisville Cardinals’ presence, with the selection of Sheldon Rankins with the 12th overall pick. The Bills, Steelers and Jets feature multiple former Cards on their rosters, with the Steelers having 2 and both the Bills & Jets having 4 (The Bears also had multiple prior to Greg Scruggs being waived). 3 postseason teams have former Cards on their rosters (Steelers, Dolphins, Patriots), as well as the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (Greg Scruggs).
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By now, you are probably familiar with the story of Lorenzo Mauldin. How he was passed around from foster home to foster home as a child as both of his parents were in jail. With everything stacked against him and plenty of excuses to not succeed in life, the fact that Lorenzo was drafted to the NFL on Friday night makes his story so much more incredible.
And if you aren’t familiar with his story, here are a couple of links from ESPN’s Andrea Adelson to help you understand.
On Friday night, there was a moment where it seemed like Louisville football was stealing the show at the NFL Draft. Three Cardinals were selected within 11 picks of each other.
It started with offensive tackle Jamon Brown being picked at number 72 by the St. Louis Rams. Brown is a local kid that attended Fern Creek High School, meaning that the first two picks from UofL (Brown and DeVante Parker) were from the city of Louisville. Brown was a second team All-ACC player in 2014 who started in 40 games for the Cards in his career. He came in as a defensive tackle and switched to the offensive line after four games of his freshman season.
We all knew watching Calvin Pryor last year that this wasn’t your average Safety. Over and over Pryor would make plays, whether a one handed INT or a monster hit, that would leave us speechless. While we knew he was special I don’t know that anyone grasp just how good Pryor may be. Upon arriving at Jets camp Pryor immediately started making an impact, so much so many people began speculating he could be moving into the starting role. ESPN has also taken notice and in Ashley Fox’s new article she makes the bold prediction that Calvin Pryor will be Defensive Rookie of the Year.
“Pryor’s head wasn’t spinning after his first minicamp. His mouth was running, yes, to the point that second-year quarterback Geno Smith quipped that Pryor had not earned the right to chirp. Yet.
But that is Pryor’s nature, and he is a perfect fit for the Jets. Pryor is, as Jets head coach Rex Ryan noted after selecting him, in the mold of Seattle safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas: big, brash, a vicious hitter with range, who is able to blitz from various spots on the field, and an enforcer for the back of the defense.
“It’s how we want to play defense,” Ryan said at the time, while noting: “Big hits still win games.”
“Pryor played three seasons at Louisville. He started the final seven games as a true freshman and developed a reputation as a hitter, hence the nickname “Louisville Slugger.” As a junior last season, the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Pryor knocked an opponent out of each game of a three-game stretch. He finished his collegiate career as Louisville’s all-time leader with nine forced fumbles. He also had seven interceptions.”
“It is inevitable that Pryor will make big hits. He should be able to create turnovers. He will make plays. And if Pryor does so from the jump, he should add another line to his résumé: NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.”
Whether Pryor wins ROY or not I think we all can agree the “Louisville Slugger” will have the best nickname in all of football.
The New York Jets announced on Monday that Calvin Pryor officially signed with the team. From ESPN.com:
Pryor signed the standard four-year contract, plus a fifth-year team option. Based on the rookie slotting system, his entire deal is worth $8.56 million, fully guaranteed. It includes a signing bonus of about $4.5 million.
Pryor was a surprise pick for the Jets. Many observers figured they’d pick a cornerback or wide receiver in the first round, but they began to target Pryor once the top corners and receivers were gone. He was the first safety off the board.
Head Coach Rex Ryan had this to say about Pryor:
“You talk about a passionate guy and the enthusiasm and everything else — you’ll see it. When he gets out there you’ll see it. But yeah, (he) will have a few wisdom teeth removed. So he’s going to miss a few days.”
With the 18th pick in the 1st round last night in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Louisville’s Calvin Pryor. Pryor goes to the Jets, who are coached by defensive-minded Rex Ryan. He was the first safety taken in the draft and this should be a good fit for him. That gives the New York Jets four former Louisville Cardinals on their roster: Calvin Pryor, Bilal Powell, Breno Giacomini, and Johnny Patrick.
“This young man is an enforcer,” Ryan said. “You see how some of those kind of plays and hits can impact a game. All you have to do is look at the Super Bowl and the play of Chancellor and Earl Thomas.”
“There is a huge thing with his hitting ability,” Ryan said. “Big hits are going to win games. They’ll flip the momentum of a game faster than anything in my opinion.
Super Bowl champion and former Louisville Cardinal Breno Giacomini will be on the move this offseason. The free agent offensive tackle reached a deal with the New York Jets on Wednesday evening. He started for the Seattle Seahawks who just won the Super Bowl this past season.
Less than 24 hours after losing right tackle Austin Howard to the Oakland Raiders, the New York Jets found his replacement, agreeing to terms Wednesday night with former Seattle Seahawks tackle Breno Giacomini.