Breaking down how to best use Calvin Pryor
By Matthew Ordazzo
With the New York Jets drafting back-to-back safeties in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, what does the future hold for veteran safety Calvin Pryor?
With another enticing 2017 NFL Draft in the books, in which most analysts gave the New York Jets a positive draft grade, we now set our eyes on the newly established Jet roster heading into the offseason. We all experienced some truly jaw-dropping moments during the draft in which Chicago traded up one spot to select Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall.
We also witnessed Deshaun Watson drop into the lap of the Houston Texans at No. 12 after working a trade. Reuben Foster nearly slipped out of the first-round and Joe Mixon went during the second-round to a running back-needy Cincinnati Bengals. We, Jets Nation, were even a bit surprised by our own team’s selections with taking two back-to-back safeties with their first two picks of the draft while also refraining from selecting a QB throughout all seven rounds.
Ultimately, this was a successful draft by the Jets. A lot of criticism was fired towards the front office for their selections of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye back-to-back, however, this is a team in serious need of secondary help in which they addressed.
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Now, with Maye and Adams our newest safeties on our roster, the spotlight shines extra bright on fourth-year safety Calvin Pryor. With the recent release of free safety Marcus Gilchrist and the fact that Pryor’s fifth-year option was denied by the club, the Louisville Slugger’s future in Green and White is truly uncertain.
Could they cut ties with the strong safety? Could the Jets deal him during camp or by the trade deadline? What if head coach Todd Bowles incorporates Pryor in a three-safety package?
One, this comes as no surprise that the team has chosen to not pick up his option. The veteran safety has shown to not be a solid fit in Bowles defense. The simple fact that he was placed on the trade block shows you the team does not see a foreseeable future with him. I don’t see the Jets releasing Pryor, but if they trade him, they could potentially reel in a mid round (3rd-5th round) pick for next years draft.
However, it makes more sense for Bowles to use more of a three-safety package this upcoming season with the trio of Pryor, Adams, and Maye. In an article written by Connor Hughes of NJ.com, here is what Bowles said about such a move:
“We have a bunch of packages where we play three safeties at one time.” Said Bowles during the draft via NJ.com. “We like to do that. We didn’t have the luxury last year, but we have that in our packages.”
Bowles has had previous success with this method before while he was the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. He mastered the linebacker/safety hybrid package with guys such as Deone Bucannon who was thought to be too big for a safety and too small for a linebacker. Bucannon does just about everything from covering tight ends and running backs to stopping the run as well as rushing the quarterback. We could very well see Adams lined up at the strong safety position along side Maye at free safety with Pryor lined up in the hybrid role.
Next: A look at newly drafted tight end Jordan Leggett
Barring any injuries, that would be the best way to use Pryor in what could potentially be his last season on the Jets. Adams would be at SS, Maye at FS and Pryor lined up with a hybrid LB/safety role in 2017. Never the less, there’s plenty of time left in the offseason until the regular season approaches in September. Until then, keep a heavy eye on the safety position during the summer leading up until Week 1.