HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- It was only a matter of time, and that time is now.
First-round pick Calvin Pryor will start at safety Friday night when the New York Jets meet the New York Giants in their annual preseason game. Pryor worked with the first team Thursday evening in a special practice at Hofstra, with Rex Ryan confirming later the Louisville Slugger will replace Jaiquawn Jarrett in the lineup.
"You know he's ready for it," Ryan said. "You saw the game (last week), as well as I have. We've seen the practices."
Pryor came off the bench last Saturday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he got some time with the starting unit and made a handful of impact plays. He recovered a fumble, broke up two passes and recorded a tackle-for-loss in his NFL debut. He missed the first preseason game because of a concussion.
Promoting Pryor is the right move; it's the only move. He was drafted 18th overall for a reason, and he displayed those reasons last week, bringing an enforcer mentality to the secondary. It would've made no sense to keep him with the backups.
Pryor won't be the only new starter in the secondary. Continuing to experiment even as the preseason winds down, the Jets will give Darrin Walls a shot at cornerback, replacing Ellis Lankster. Walls played well last week, making a late interception, and followed that with a good week of practice.
It has to be disconcerting for Ryan, mixing and matching in the third preseason game, but what choice does he have? Converted safety Antonio Allen will remain at cornerback (this week, anyway), with Dawan Landry holding it all down at strong safety.
It doesn't appear that Dimitri Patterson (leg) will play. He was in uniform Thursday night, but he didn't participate in any positional or team drills. The Jets are counting on him to be ready for the season opener, but they're not sure about Dee Milliner (high-ankle sprain).