The New York Jets selected safety Calvin Pryor with the No. 18 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Pryor played free safety at the University of Louisville for three years, stands at 5′-foot-11 and weighed in at 207 pounds at the NFL Combine. Pryor is one of the top-rated safeties in the NFL Draft and he is known as a big-time, lights-out hitter who can change the momentum of a game with just one play. Pryor was expected to be drafted a few picks earlier and although the Jets are thankful Pryor fell to them, it was the wrong pick.
The Jets avoided their biggest needs when they selected Pryor at No 18. Drafting a safety with huge upside and hitting abilities definitely satisfies fans and head coach Rex Ryan, but it’s not the selection that helps the Jets most for this upcoming season. Far and away, the biggest holes on the Jets’ roster are the wide receiver and cornerback positions. Freshly-signed WR Eric Decker didn’t surpass 612 receiving yards in a season before Peyton Manning arrived to his ex-team and WRs Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill have both proved over the past two seasons that they barely have average NFL abilities.
As well as ignoring the wide receiver position, the Jets’ coaching staff also ignored the team’s holes at cornerback. The Jets will not win games with Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson and Dimitri Patterson as their top cornerbacks. Milliner looked fantastic in the final games of the 2013 season but this player is so streaky that it makes him untrustworthy as a No. 1 cornerback. He can make an interception one week and get benched for mental errors the next. A case can definitely be made that a talented safety takes pressure off a cornerback but banking on that is simply a worse long-term decision than drafting a more talented and reliable cornerback in the first place.
The Jets drafted a fantastic talent in Pryor, but the safety position was not their biggest need headed into the draft and now those pressing needs remain. If I’m a Jets fan, I am happy the team just drafted a great play-maker and lights-out hitter, but I am more worried about how the team’s lack of depth and talent at the wide receiver and cornerback positions will prevent it from winning games.