Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mild Surprise as Jets Snag Louisville Safety

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mild Surprise as Jets Snag Louisville Safety

Article excerpt

FLORHAM PARK - The Jets stuck to their board Thursday night in the first round of the NFL Draft.

They didn't pick a cornerback or a wide receiver, despite those being two positions of extreme need. Instead, they selected Louisville safety Calvin Pryor with the 18th overall pick.

Pryor is considered to be an excellent all-around safety and was rated the top safety available by many experts. He is a hard hitter and is excellent in coverage. The Jets' starting safeties last season were Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen.

Pryor, who came out of school after his junior season, had three interceptions last season for the Cardinals and was credited with 75 tackles, including 54 solo stops. He had 5 1/2 tackles for loss in 2013.

The Jets used most of their allotted time on the clock before finally submitting the pick. As usual, general manager John Idzik was quite deliberate. Free-falling Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was available when the Jets selected, but the team apparently is committed to letting second-year player Geno Smith continue to grow into his job. Smith had 12 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions as a rookie, and the Jets signed veteran free agent Michael Vick in March to compete with Smith and push him.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg recently said, "One thing I want to make sure of is nothing impedes the young quarterback's progression. I'm talking about Geno. He progressed beautifully [in 2013]. ... I'm talking [about] the last quarter of the season. He [was a] winning quarterback that played at a high level."

The Jets won three of their last four games to finish 8-8 despite a porous secondary. Pryor definitely can help in that area, although most people expected the Jets to select a corner or a wideout.

AFC East rival Buffalo traded up to the fourth selection and took Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins, considered by most experts to be the best wide receiver in a draft filled with good ones. …

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