With the 18th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Jets drafted Calvin Pryor, a safety from Louisville.
This pick was highly questionable based on team needs, although there is no denying Pryor’s incredible talent. At Louisville, Pryor asserted himself as one of the nation’s best and hardest hitting safeties. In his three year career as a Cardinal, Pryor forced 9 fumbles, 11 interceptions, 11 tackles for loss, and in his final two years he averaged almost 7 tackles again, a mind blowing stat for a safety.
Pryor continued to prove his excellence this offseason as he climbed up draft boards with his phenomenal Combine, which included a 4.56 40 yard dash and 18 reps on the bench press. Calvin Pryor yet again impressed NFL coaches and GMs with his outstanding Pro Day, which was a little underplayed by the media due to Teddy Bridgewater’s abysmal Pro Day.
However, when Roger Goodell read off Calvin Pryor’s name, question marks rose across the entire NFL fan base. With Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen (both of whom Rex Ryan praise constantly), safety was not the most dire position of need for the New York Jets.
The Jets desperately need a cornerback and a wide receiver, and when they were on the clock they had a prime opportunity to secure a top player at both of those positions.
Brandin Cooks, wide receiver from Oregon State and winner of the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top college wide receiver), was available with the Jets pick. The Jets desperately need a wide receiver to compliment recently signed Eric Decker, and Cooks would have been a perfect fit. However, the Jets passed on him for Pryor, a great player but not a huge need.
John Idzik and the Jets also passed on cornerback Darqueze Dennard from Michigan, a projected top 12 pick who mysteriously fell to the Jets at 18. Dennard would have been a perfect fit for the Jets, as he is a phenomenal press and man coverage corner. Dennard is a very physical, very aggressive, and very talented player, and he would have made a lot of sense for the Jets to draft.
However, the Jets obviously decided on Pryor, choosing more of a luxury pick than a necessary pick. The Jets still need a starting tight end, a starting receiver, and a starting corner, and they just have two picks left before all the prospects who can be potential Week 1 starters are gone.
This means that unless the Jets find a gem in the fourth round, either Jeff Cumberland, Kyle Wilson, or Stephen Hill will be a projected starter. Geno Smith needs to be surrounded with weapons in order to succeed, and Jeff Cumberland and Stephen Hill are by no means ‘weapons.’
Also, despite signing Dmitri Patterson the Jets still need a corner because Patterson has only excelled as a nickel corner, and it would be a huge risk having him play as a #2 corner. However, Kyle Wilson has proven again and again that he has no place as a starter in the NFL, but if the Jets can’t secure a good corner in the draft he might have to.
However, lets not forget that John Idzik is a draft guru. He found Richard Sherman on day 3 of the draft, and he is now the best cornerback in the league. Although Calvin Pryor might not make a lot of sense now and definitely seems like a luxury pick, we must have faith that Idzik knows what he’s doing.