Only months after Jets DL Sheldon Richardson was named the 2013 Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, there has been some major buzz about Calvin Pryor. And the rookie safety should look even better once he is able to suit up in pads and actually hit someone next month when training camp commences at SUNY Cortland.
"Want a sneaky pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year? How about Jets safety Calvin Pryor, who instantly endeared himself to Gang Green faithful by announcing his hatred for the Patriots and Giants," penned NFL.com Around the League writer Marc Sessler. "He's backed up his talk in practice, with ESPN.com's Louis Riddick hearing the hammer-dropping run-stuffer has been 'special.'"
Unfortunately we will have to wait until late July for pads as the Jets will conclude their offseason program this week with a three-day mandatory minicamp at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
The 6'2", 208-pound Pryor, a Louisville product taken with the No. 18 overall selection, has the ability to be a tone-setter for a defensive backfield undergoing significant changes.
"We expect this young man is going to contribute and in a big way for us," said head coach Rex Ryan.
While Pryor possesses desirable leadership traits, he knows he has a lot to learn. The rookie has a great resource in the secondary's QB — Dawan Landry — in addition to some young vets including the likes of Antonio Allen and Josh Bush.
"It's been a huge help. I knew what I was doing at rookie minicamp, but we started putting new defenses in," Pryor said during OTAs. "So those older guys, you can reach out to them and get advice and get info on what you're supposed to do. They're willing to help you, so they've just been my big brothers just trying to lead me along the way."
Pryor is more than just a box safety as he totaled 7 INTs and 14 PD in three bone-crushing seasons with the Cardinals. His mere presence should help a Jets defense that finished just 31st in takeaways last season with 15 because Pryor can jar the bar loose and make a receiver or two short-arm a ball on occasion.
"I look to intimidate guys right away. Come downhill and just smack people and let them know there is no fear in me," he told me hours after he was drafted. "I play fearless, I'm going to fly around to the ball and I look forward to be an enforcer right away."