Why Pryor Makes Perfect Sense For The Jets
The Jets didn’t draft the enigmatic quarterback. They didn’t chase controversy. They didn’t go out on a limb on a “maybe” skill position player. But they did what they needed to do with the 18th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. They made the sound, smart football move that we all expected they would make. New York knew that they needed to improve their pass defense, and they did just that with their first round selection. Calvin Pryor, the hard-hitting safety out of Louisville, is exactly with the doctor ordered.
Pryor is more known for his hard hitting tendencies than he is for his ability to blanket star wideouts effectively but he will undoubtedly add some much needed toughness to this defensive unit. The Jets already have a sound safety in Antonio Allen, but by bringing in Pryor they add depth to the position. Last season, the Jets had Allen at linebacker in the sub package so Pryor will allow them to go with that look, or the ever more common three-safety look with a higher frequency this season.
Lets face facts, the Jets ranked 22nd against the pass and only picked off 13 balls in an 8-win season last year. Nobody expected the Jets to close with an even record, but when you play in New York, 50/50 just doesn’t cut it. The Jets chose defensive back Dee Milliner with last year’s first round pick, but he failed to live up to the hype, and at times in 2013 he looked overmatched in man to man coverage. With the uncertainty of Milliner and the loss of Cromartie, the Jets wasted no time in the draft on bringing in reinforcements to the biggest question mark position on their roster.
Calvin Pryor’s banner game came against Rutgers University on October 10th 2013. He accumulated 14 tackles and an interception in the game. Calvin then followed up that performance with 11 tackles and an interception of the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 Draft Blake Bortles the following week. The kid can make plays, and he’s undoubtedly one of the best secondary players in this year’s draft class.
I can’t help but draw the comparison to Miami’s smashmouth safety Louis Delmas. An improved cover-man, Delmas was applauded for his ability to lower the boom leading into the 2009 draft. Since then, he has evolved into one of the better secondary players in the league. Pryor can follow that same track, but he needs to improve his cover skills. The Jets know this. But Rex Ryan also knows a thing or two about defense. If Pryor is willing to learn and work hard he will prosper in Ryan’s system. Not a sexy pick, but a solid pick.
My Grade - B