There was plenty of suspense surrounding the New York Jets’ first round pick, especially with Johnny Manziel still on the board. Equally intriguing, three of the top players on the Jets’ board were still available, Darqueze Dennard, Brandin Cooks, and Marqise Lee. However, the Jets surprised everyone by opting to draft Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.
The Jets had a huge need at free safety, and Pryor should step in as a starter from Day 1. He is a very versatile safety, but he profiles as more of a strong safety than the true ballhawk the Jets need. Pryor is a big time hitter who will make a huge impact in the run game, and he has the coverage stills to play deep middle or man to man. The Jets also spend a lot of time in three safety looks, which adds to Pryor’s benefit.
In my opinion free safety was the Jets’ third biggest need, behind cornerback and wide receiver. Dennard, Cooks and Lee all would have been immediate starters and better picks than Pryor. Making matters worse, the Jets chose Pryor over Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, a much better coverage safety and a better fit. All in all, the decision to draft Pryor doesn’t make much sense.
To be fair to the Jets, these are many of the same criticisms that were leveled at Sheldon Richardson last season, and that worked out perfectly. That being said, the Jets clearly missed on the opportunity to add an impact player at one of the two positions they have a desperate need at. This is a deep draft for corners and receivers, and the Jets will most likely be targeting them over the next couple rounds. However, the decision to take Pryor remains a very disappointing one.