While far from a shocking selection, Louisville safety Calvin Pryor likely wasn't the player on the tips of New York Jets fans' tongues when the clock started for the No. 18 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Specifically, with so much attention on the team's need for offensive firepower, options like Brandin Cooks or Marqise Lee seemed more likely. There was even some thought to the possibility of selecting Johnny Manziel as he slid down the first round before finally finding a home with the Cleveland Browns. If the Jets were going to select defense once again, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard seemed to be the logical pick given Rex Ryan's desire for elite cornerbacks. In the end the Jets made a solid, if somewhat ho-hum selection that did address a need. As expected, John Idzik and the Jets clearly stuck to their original draft board and didn't let need dictate the draft to them.
The New York Jets are hoping that Calvin Pryor can be the next LaRon Landry for Rex Ryan. A big-time hitter, Calvin Pryor will bring a major physical presence to the Jets secondary and Rex Ryan believes his coverage skills are good enough to deal with NFL tight ends and patrol center field. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock has described Calvin Pryor as a bigger version of Bob Sanders – extremely high praise. Pryor had been a building block of the Louisville defense since his freshman year when he appeared in all 13 games, starting the final seven. Pryor has proven to be very durable, missing only one game while at Louisville which was for a team rules violation.
The Jets got a good value in Calvin Pryor, who was seen by many as a top-15 selection. Pryor should be expected to come in and start as a rookie, yet another young building block for Rex Ryan on defense. His willingness to come downhill in run support will get him on the field on early downs, his ability to run with tight ends will make him valuable on passing downs. Pryor will bring an intimidating presence to the back end of the Jets defense and will create turnovers with his physical play and ball skills.
In the end, while maybe not the expected selection, Calvin Pryor will be a good fit for the New York Jets. If continuing to follow the Seattle Seahawks blueprint, the Seahawks have two very good safeties in Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. As the 2014 NFL Draft moves forward, expect the Jets to turn their attention to wide receivers, tight ends and cornerbacks.
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- New York Jets 2014 NFL Draft Profiles: Safeties
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