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Browns traded Demario Davis for Jets Calvin Pryor

The Cleveland Browns filled many gaps in their depleted roster through free agency and the 2017 NFL Draft, but there was still a glaring hole at the safety position despite adding Jabrill Peppers. Much like their counterparts on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, finding someone worthy of playing a defensive center field has been an issue for the Browns. The team added more depth to the position as they have reportedly traded for former first-round pick Calvin Pryor according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and confirmed by’s Mary Kay Cabot.

The only price for the safety is backup linebacker Demario Davis, who was in a battle with Joe Schobert for the starting strongside spot when the Browns play in base formation. Schobert should have the role solidified now as Davis returns to the Jets (note: nickel defenses with only two linebackers made up over half the snaps of Gregg Williams’ defenses the past couple of seasons).

The trade completes a dissappointing career for Pryor with the Jets. The touted safety out of Louisville was the No. 18 pick overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. He immediately slotted into the Jets wretched secondary and flashed many of the attributes that earned himself that high grade. However, he failed to stick as a free safety and his over-aggressiveness going for big hits from the strong safety position left him out of position and missing too many tackles. He was also demoted for a couple games his rookie season after consistently showing up late to meetings.

The Jets had declined Pryor’s fifth year option earlier this offseason. Pryor reportedly asked for his release last week and was absent initially from OTA’s. When he did show up, the Jets coaching staff demoted him to third string.

PFF had him among the four worst starting safeties in the NFL in 2016 and were quite explicit in the many areas of his struggles.

  • In his first three seasons with New York, S Calvin Pryor failed to rank better than 34th among safeties in any year.
    Teams had success when targeting Pryor in coverage in 2016 as he gave up 0.81 yards per snap in coverage which ranked 48th of 56 qualifying safeties.
  • Quarterbacks targeted Pryor 42 times, completing 30 of those passes for a passer rating of 96.7. Pryor gave up 11.8 yards per reception and missed 11 tackles in coverage, most on the team.
  • Known as the ‘Louisville Slugger’, Pryor struggled to tackle in 2016. He missed one of every 6.3 tackles attempted which ranked 14th highest out of 74 qualifying safeties.
  • The Jets had Pryor rush the quarterback 22 times in 2016. He tallied eight total QB pressures which led to a pass rush productivity score of 13.0 (PRP measures pressure on a per snap basis weighting towards sacks), which ranked 24th out of 33 qualifying safeties.

There is a positive side for Pryor coming to the Browns. The Jets defense was toxic in 2016 with Muhammed Wilkerson calling out teammates and the Jets training and coaching staff and Sheldon Richardson giving lax effort on and off the field. Pryor has been a starting safety in the NFL for the past three seasons, is only 25 years old, and has the physical attributes that earned him that first-round grade. There is a chance that a fresh start on a new team that plays to his aggressive style will reinvigorate him. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will hold him accountable.

The Browns risked little for a potential boon to their defensive secondary weakness. Besides, saving the career of a player named Pryor is something the Hue Jackson staff has already done once in their limited time in Cleveland.