4. Calvin Pryor, SS
The most valuable player to the New York Jets defense a season ago wasn’t Darrelle Revis. It wasn’t David Harris. It wasn’t Muhamad Wilkerson.
It was safety Calvin Pryor.
No youngster developed better for this organization in one year than Pryor did. It was easy to see why, too.
In 2014, during Pryor’s rookie season, Rex Ryan had the kid playing out of position thanks to a desperate need at the safety position. He was uncomfortably playing centerfield, trying to take the middle third of the field with less than stellar speed.
Thanks to the acquisition of Marcus Gilchrist, Pryor went back to his natural position in 2015 and dominated.
Playing a robber spot and sniffing the box, Pryor was the Jets most valuable defender. He literally flew all over the field wreaking havoc on offensive weapons.
The problem – and what made it easy to see how valuable he was – is that he missed a few games and the defense suffered greatly because of it. Bowles’s defense didn’t just struggle. They looked lost when Pyror was dressed in street clothes.
The three games Pryor missed, the Jets went 1-2 with losses to the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills, and a narrow win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The defense surrendered 451 yards in Oakland, 436 yards against the Jags, and 280 yards against a Rex Ryan offense who never wants to score points.
Pryor must stay on the field in 2016.