Calvin Pryor, S, New York Jets
The New York Jets selected Calvin Pryor with the No. 18 overall pick last draft, with the intention that they would use him as a free-wheeling, hard-hitting intimidator who would crack receivers who dared to cross the middle or running backs who reached the second level.
Of course, in order to do that, a safety needs to have some decent cornerbacks in front of him. Otherwise, he spends his time shifting to support an overmatched cornerback.
Which was pretty much Pryor’s issue, although after a very rough start he graded out well by Pro Football Focus for the season, ranked No. 29 out of 87 total safeties (subscription required).
Still, assisting in coverage isn’t his strength and he’s much better off if he has corners he can leave on an island. Speaking of which—the Jets have an island again as Darrelle Revis has returned along with Antonio Cromartie, who join free agent addition Buster Skrine to make the weakness of the cornerbacks the defense’s strength.
That only helps Pryor as he will spend a lot less time bailing out cornerbacks.
Pryor should also have no issue transitioning to new head coach Todd Bowles’ defense and may actually be an even better fit in it, though it is similar enough to departed Rex Ryan’s tendencies as to not necessarily make a huge difference.
The Jets also added Marcus Gilchrist at strong safety, which again should be a move which will allow Pryor to roam free rather than be pinned down in coverage.
Overall, Pryor will have the chance to show that he really does have the talent and skill the Jets hoped he did when they selected him last season.
Next: Greg Robinson, OT, St. Louis Rams