We continue to profile the biggest names the New York Jets might be targeting in the 2014 NFL Draft with Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. As with Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Pryor is someone the Jets would only consider if the top pass catching options were off the board when they pick at No. 18. Pryor is rapidly climbing draft boards, and he looks like a mid first round prospect at this point.
Pryor has a lot of similarities to Clinton-Dix in both build and abilities, and he checks in at 6’2″, 208 lbs. Pryor is expected to run in the 4.5 range at the combine, making his measurables nearly identical to Clinton-Dix. Pryor has received extremely high praise from his Louisville coaching staff, and he has a lot of momentum as the draft process really starts to hit high gear.
Pryor had three interceptions and four pass deflections this season, and he totaled seven interceptions in his three year career. Pryor has good speed and instincts, and he has shown the ability to play the deep middle and prevent big plays. His hands aren’t great, but he definitely has the ability to create turnovers. He also has the physicality to play man to man coverage against tight ends, a must for NFL free safeties.
Pryor is a very good tackler and is excellent in run support, and his physical play would fit right in with the Jets’ defense. Pryor is a complete safety, and there are several teams in the middle of the first round that will view him as a huge upgrade to their secondary, including the Jets. While both top safety prospects look like they’ll be very good players, Clinton-Dix is a little better against the pass and Pryor is a little better against the run. The Jets’ need for improved pass coverage is why I believe they will have Clinton-Dix slightly higher on their draft board.
As with Clinton-Dix, I believe the Jets would only consider Pryor if things broke the wrong way in the first round. The Jets are most likely going to be looking for a receiver or tight end, and I believe they could trade out of the No. 18 spot in either direction to make that happen. Still, there is a chance that they could end up looking at a different position, and that is why Pryor is a player they will carefully evaluate. The Jets need a lot of help at free safety, and Pryor could be the answer to their problems.