Many thought the New York Jets would select an offensive player with the 18th overall pick, but that logic went down the drain when Calvin Pryor was still available. The Dallas Cowboys were linked to Pryor and many thought he would be off the board after Dallas’ pick, but then he slipped. By the Jets drafting him, Pryor became the first safety taken in this year’s draft.
At 6-feet, 215 pounds, Pryor has comparable size for a starting free safety in the NFL. If there is one safety in this draft class who is willing lay down the lumber, it is definitely Pryor. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Pryor ran a 4.58 40-yard dash. He also had a 35-inch vertical jump. If he can improve his ball skills, Pryor could become a great player because he already has the measurements to succeed in the NFL.
Pryor will have no problem starting right away in 2014. In fact, Pryor is the best safety on this entire roster. Dawan Landry is a competent player, but his skillset is better suited for the strong safety position. Cornerbacks Dee Milliner and Dimitri Patterson will struggle next season if there is not an intimidating presence behind them in the defensive backfield.
With New York’s pass rush, Pryor could see a ton of action in terms of creating takeaways. While Pryor is a good player and he has the potential to be elite, rookie free safeties have struggled in the past few years. Yes, Kenny Vaccaro was good, but Mark Barron and J.J. Wilcox have had some struggles in years past. With in-game experience, Pryor will only get better. It will be interesting to see how well he does in OTAs and in training camp.