A Breakdown of New York Jets First Round Draft Pick, Calvin Pryor
When the Jets selected Calvin Pryor last week, they got someone that fits exactly what they look for in a player. Pryor is a physical, rangy, hard-hitting safety. I’m going to breakdown a couple plays that show exactly what Jets fans can expect from Pryor next season. Enjoy.
When I watched Pryor on tape prior to the draft, I fell in love with his effort in run support; this play was always one of my favorites. Here, Louisville is fully expecting Rutgers to run the ball. They have brought Pryor up to the line where he will be blitzing off the edge.
Many people will talk about Pryor’s stature and how he is undersized for a safety in the NFL. Pryor is 5’11 and weighs in at 207 lbs. Yes, he is small, but you wouldn’t be able to tell here. As soon as the play starts, Pryor shoots inside and is met by Rutgers fullback Michael Burton. Burton weighs in at 235 and is obviously much bigger than Pryor, but have you ever heard the phrase “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose?”
Pryor gets past the fullback and makes a play in the backfield before it can even develop. Pryor shows exactly how physical he can be by taking on the bigger fullback, and making it look relatively easy. The Jets fans are going to love seeing this on Sundays; that’s for sure. Pryor may not have the size that every NFL team looks for in a safety, but when you combine Pryor’s physicality with his will to win; it certainly makes up for it.
There is a bunch of talk about Pryor’s play on the back-end and how it’s one of his weaknesses. I really didn’t think it was all that bad, to be honest with you. Pryor is obviously much better when the play is in front of him than when it’s behind him, but Pryor showed plenty of range and coverage ability to make me comfortable.
On this play, Louisville is running a cover two. The corners will show man at the start of the play, but their job is to cover anything short. If the receiver goes deep, it’s up to the safeties to pick them up. The highlighted player is who Pryor (not shown on screen) will have to pick up. Louisville CB will press him until he gets to about the 35 yd line; after that he will be Pryor’s responsibility.
Unfortunately, we can’t see exactly where Pryor started the play at, but we can see Pryor does a good job of picking up his responsibility; he is with the receiver step for step. The ball is in the air, and now it’s time to make a play.
It looks like the WR is able to make the catch, but at the last second, Pryor is able to get his hand in and knock the ball out. It’s a terrific play. It shows Pryor’s ability in coverage and how he will be able to help out the Jets secondary that got flat out torched last season. I truly believe Pryor will be more than adequate in the coverage and Jets fans shouldn’t just sell him as an in-the-box safety. Another play to look at is his one-handed INT in the end zone against UCF.
The Louisville Slugger
Pryor got his nickname because he has laid some devastating hits on many of his opponents. This can be a blessing or a curse, unfortunately. With the way the NFL is trying to cutback on concussions around the league, many of these big hitters in the NFL are starting to get flagged. This next play shows an example.
UCONN is in a three receiver set in a shotgun formation, making it look very likely that they will be passing. It’s a sneaky formation especially on 4th and 1, where a run is very likely as well; the running back is lined up right next to the QB. Uconn does decide to run the ball, but they get a little bit cute with it by running a reverse with the receiver that’s in the slot. Pryor reads and reacts perfectly to it.
Pryor gets to the sideline where he greets the ball carrier with an enormous hit. It looks great and could give the team a momentum swing, but UCONN did pick up the first down and then the referees flagged Pryor for targeting, tacking on an extra 15 yds. Pryor looks for these huge hits and they are certainly exciting, but it might be better for the team and his wallet if he tones it down just a bit, but that’s hard to ask out of a player to change up his style of play.
I love Pryor’s game and I think he is going to be a force in the Jets secondary for many years. In my opinion, the Jets should pair up Pryor and Antonio Allen as the starting safeties this season. This gives the Jets a very young secondary, but one that has so much potential. The Jets might have to rely on the their front seven this season, but with players such as Pryor and Dee Milliner in this secondary, the sky is truly the limit.
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