FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Calvin Pryor, safety, Louisville
My take: The New York Jets made a good call by addressing the secondary with the 18th pick instead of reaching for a wide receiver, but you have to wonder if Pryor is the right guy for the Jets' scheme. They need a cover safety and a ballhawk who can play the deep middle. Pryor is better close to the line of scrimmage than in coverage. They opted for him over Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, whom scouts believe is a better cover safety. They also passed on Darqueze Dennard, thought to be the best man-to-man corner in the draft. Now they have three strong safeties -- Pryor, Dewan Landry and Antonio Allen -- and no free safety. Landry and Allen didn't make many plays last season, so anything is an upgrade. Pryor will bring a LaRon Landry-type presence to the defense, a physical player with an attitude. As one opposing scout said, "He's a hammer guy, a box-strong safety type." Pryor recorded only seven interceptions and only 14 pass break-ups in three seasons at Louisville. He's vicious tackler, forcing seven fumbles over the past two seasons. He ran 40 in 4.58 seconds at the combine.
Jets say 'No' to Johnny Football: Quarterback Johnny Manziel was still available for the Jets with the 18th pick, but he never was a serious consideration. They're invested in Geno Smith and they signed Michael Vick as a mentor/backup/possible starter. It would've been a stinging indictment of Smith if they had pulled the trigger on Johnny Football. It also would've been a three-quarterback circus. Manziel is risky because of his style of play, but he has special qualities. If he leads the moribund Cleveland Browns to a championship and the Jets remain also-rans under Smith, the second-guessers will have a field day for decades.
What's Next: The Jets don't pick again until the second round (49). Their primary needs remain the same: cornerback, wide receiver and tight end. Don't be surprised if they try to trade up in the second round, using their extra choices (seven tradeable picks) as bargaining chips.