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New York Jets safety Calvin Pryor focused on leading a tight defensive unit in 2016

It's been a learning process for Calvin Pryor since the Jets drafted him in 2014. Approaching just his third NFL season, Pryor is already a leader in the locker room and on the field.

Florham Park N.J. - There was a moment during week one of training camp when Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back during team drills and tossed a bullet towards the sideline, only to be intercepted by safety Calvin Pryor. Fitzpatrick tried to find a small window that normally he would have been successful in finding, but, with the finesse and athleticism of the Jets safety, there was virtually no chance of a completion. That was a warning for the rest of the league: be careful flirting in the area of the Louisville alum. 

Entering his third professional season, Pryor has emerged onto the scene as a do-it-all safety. He is 5'11, 207 pounds, but do not let a smaller than usual frame hinder your expectations. Many have crossed his path; few have achieved their goal. While his size may compare to a flatbed truck, Pryor's strength results in hits from an eighteen-wheeler. More importantly, when you lose the battle against Pryor, you will most certainly hear from him. 

"I've been that way my whole life," said Pryor. "I love talking and communicating with my brothers out on the field and be one. It's very important to be on the same page."

Pryor believes he has not changed since middle school. He has been vocal throughout high school and college but his main goal is to try to transfer it to the professional level. So far, it has been a success, as Pryor has become one of the primary leaders in the Jets defensive unit. At practice and on game days, it is guaranteed to hear the safety directing orders in the secondary or trash-talking a receiver after a bone-rattling hit. With that said, Pryor knows his place on the team and understands the respect level given to veterans like Darrelle Revis and Marcus Gilchrist.

"[Gilchrist] is a guy with so much experience and has done some things that I want to achieve," said Pryor. "I try to pick his brain here and there when we are in the meeting room."

The Jets brought in Gilchrist in 2015 to mentor Pryor and advance his development. It has worked as Pryor admits he has learned a lot from the former San Diego Charger. The two safeties have a tight bond and feed off of each other's success. It speaks to the brotherhood the Jets defense has constructed in just one year under Todd Bowles

"We love each other," Pryor said about his defense. "The sky is the limit for this group if we can bring it all together. We have a great group of guys."

Of course, it starts with putting in the work necessary to mend this defense into a "tight unit," as Pryor said. This also starts with Pryor taking better care of his body, which he continues to do after his high ankle sprain that forced him to miss three games last season. 

"The injury made me better," admitted Pryor. "I learned how to really take care of my body. When you can do that and play a full season, you'll have more opportunities to help your team out. But, I feel good, [the ankle] hasn't been giving me problems. I'm fully good to go." 

Pryor is committed to bettering himself while helping the team. While he cites being an All-Pro and Pro-Bowler as goals for 2016, at the same time, Pryor wants more turnovers that gives his team the best shot to win. 

"It's all about making the right tackles and getting the ball back," Pryor said. "It's about making things easier for myself and the team."

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Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone), or via email (joebarone28@gmail.com).  


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