I covered Calvin Pryor so little leading up to the NFL Draft this year, I’m not sure I can produce 500 words on him tonight. But here I go. For journalism!
The New York Jets drafted Louisville safety Calvin Pryor with the 18th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday night. It was a night of drama, mostly surrounding Johnny Manziel’s fall, and of some questionable reaches. For instance, I like UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, but the Minnesota Vikings selecting him ninth raised some eyebrows.
It was picks like that that more specifically molded the Jets’ draft board. After Barr, the Detroit Lions picked North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, solidifying theirs as one of the most high-powered offenses in the league and simultaneously taking my favorite Jet projection off the board. LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. lasted longer than the Top 10, and the Jets didn’t trade up to get him. As a result, they lost him to their cross-town rivals, the Giants, at #12 overall.
Biletnikoff Award winner (for the best wide receiver in college football) Brandin Cooks, the Oregon State wide receiver, seemed more and more of a likely pick as the teens wore on. Cooks told the New York Post earlier in the week that the Jets seemed to be “pushing for him.”
Ah, such is the life of an NFL prospect. You think a team is very interested in your services, then passes on you when they’re on the clock.
Also on the board at the time were USC WR Marqise Lee; Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard; Alabama safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix; and some guy named Johnny Manziel. I can’t pretend I wasn’t worried just a bit that the Jets would take the quarterback. “Do it for the Vine, Jets,” ESPN writer Pablo S. Torre tweeted before the selection, alluding to the social media-worthy chaos Jets fans at Radio City Music Hall would wreak if Manziel was selected.
But they drafted Pryor, a 5-11, 207-pound safety from the University of Louisville. The Jets are not strong at either safety position. In 2013, Antonio Allen and Dawan Landry started at free and strong safeties, respectively, and they are the current projected starters for next year. Pryor played more free safety in college, but as he’s such a hard hitter, analysts project him to play strong safety in the NFL.
In his 36 collegiate games over three seasons, Pryor racked up 218 total tackles, seven interceptions, 18 passes deflected and two sacks.
Some tweets about Calvin Pryor to take notice of (and take comfort in reading):
John Clayton, @ClaytonESPN: “Watch for Calvin Pryor to be the quarterback of the defense for the Jets.”
Newsday Jets beat writer Kimberly A. Martin, @KMart_LI: “‘He fits us. He fits our profile.. ..He just plays like a Jet.’ — Idzik on Calvin Pryor.”
Martin again: “Rex on Calvin Pryor: ‘This young man is an enforcer.’ #jets”
Former All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins: “Trust me…Calvin Pryor in Rex’s scheme?… Better Look out!!!#NYJpick”
Stay tuned for more Jets draft reaction Friday and Saturday!