The New York Jets entered the 2014 draft with glaring needs at the receiver, tight end, and defensive back positions. There were many rumors, with plenty of draft picks to deal, Gang Green was going to slide up in the draft to select a playmaking receiver.
General manager John Idzik and company decided to stay patient, weaving through the smoke. At the No. 18 overall selection, the Green and White got very lucky. Selecting another defensive player in the first round, the Jets chose former Louisville safety, Calvin Pryor.
Calvin Pryor was regarded as the best safety coming out of the NCAA last season. In the combine, the 5-foot-11 and 207 pound safety registered 18 reps on the bench press. The strength of this rookie ranked towards the top of all secondary personnel in this year's draft. Pryor, however, did not run the fastest 40-yard dash time. Regardless, the Jets' No. 18 overall draft pick's 4.58 second time did not affect his draft stock.
Gang Green likes physical, aggressive safeties that can come up and make a stop against the run. Pryor's ability to protect against the run has really set him over the rest of the prospective safeties, making him a valuable take for the Jets. While protecting against the deep ball, Pryor also ranked as the best safety on most experts' draft boards.
Pryor tallied over 70 tackles in his final year with Louisville. Three of those tackles however resulted in players from missing the rest of their competition. His hard-hitting ability allowed him to record over five tackles for a loss and two fumbles in his final season. This, combined with his natural ability to cover the entire field, made him one of the most dynamic safeties in the NCAA.
Rex Ryan likes to have physical, hard-hitting safeties that can come up and make a play against the run. Also, his safeties must have the ability to lock-down a top tiered tight end and eliminate them from the game. Much like veteran Jets safety, Antonio Allen, Pryor proved this all season long in 2013, eliminating the nation's top receiving tight ends from the competition.
Coming in and being a dynamic force in the secondary, Pryor can be an excellent successor to Ed Reed this season. His hard-nosed, playmaking abilities have helped him excel in college and he will only produce greatly in the NFL under Ryan's defense.
Pryor can come to New York and start immediately. Since the Jets did not bring back Ed Reed, and there are huge question marks in the secondary, the newly drafted safety can easily fill in the void. His big play ability and his physical presence in center field will cause quarterbacks to re-consider throwing the ball deep. This is because Pryor will be waiting to lay the wood.
Having recorded over five tackles for a loss on running plays, Pryor has proven that he is not afraid to get his nose dirty when the time comes to making a stop at the line. Having been compared to future Hall of Famer, Ed Reed, Pryor can only come with a high ceiling, and under Rex Ryan, he will exceed all expectations.
Former New York Jets safety, Ed Reed, has been linked to Pryor since the rookie safety was still wreaking havoc in the ACC. Even though his tackling skills are slightly better than Reed, Pryor's ability to cover the entire field is very comparable towards his predecessor. The former Louisville standout is very aggressive and looks to make the big play, changing the momentum of the team at any given moment. Pryor brings an added dimension however, as he can come up and make the play against the run. Coming in with the ability to be a game-changer as a rookie, Pryor can be easily comparable to an All-Pro Reed.