Picking Pryor was a genius move. Here's why:
1. We need help in the secondary, and we need it now. Many assumed this meant going CB. A stellar safety, which Pryor has the chance to be, can definitely make a much bigger impact in the first year. Cornerbacks take at least a year to get in the groove in the NFL, as we've seen ourselves most recently with Milliner.
2. We had our choice of safeties, so there was no compromise. Pryor wasn't a second choice needing to be force fit. If Idzik and Rex thought Haha or Ward were better choices, they could have gotten one of them. Given everything they knew about the players and their own plans, they wanted Pryor. They got him.
3. Rex will make it work. There are understandable questions about how Pryor fits -- or doesn't fit -- with AA and Landry. Some say it's redundant. Some say Rex never designates free versus strong safety and likes flexibility. I for one don't know. But I do trust Rex will make it work, and work wonderfully, just as he did with Richardson -- another pick that raised major questions about fit and redundancy.
4. Idzik is following the Seattle pattern to sustained success. Sherman gets a lot of the glory. But would the Legion of Boom be the Legion of Boom without Thomas and Chancellor? Of course not. At long last, the Jets are looking at the secondary as a cohesive unit, not just a collection of individual shutdown (or wannabe-shutdown) corners. (UPDATE: See Can't!Wait's comment below for really interesting historical insight into how the "Seattle pattern" actually could be the "Arizona/Tampa Bay/Seattle pattern".)
5. Defense wins championships. (Not saying they always win, just saying defensively-minded teams can and do win them.) Exhibit A: last year. You had arguably the best quarterback of all time surrounded by a strong cast beat by a defensively dominant team. The MVP was a linebacker -- which felt to me as much as a nod to the defense as a whole as the performance of that one player.
6. As fans and as a team, we can finally stop the collective madness of looking for a Revis replacement. We will not get another Revis, no matter how many first round CBs we pick. Milliner will be good, but he won't be Revis. DRC, the lost free agency opportunity so many lament, is good but he's no Revis. Wilson already is good in the slot, but folks still hate on him because he's no Revis. The point is, let's stop looking for a Revis. It ain't gonna happen. Instead, let's get decent CB play and then build up the pass defense as a whole, including much better safety play.
7. As Rex has said, big hits change the momentum of the game in big ways. Rex defenses thrive on momentum. They can be dominant one moment, give up a huge deflating play the next. We need momentum creators and amplifiers. Pryor will be one.
8. Yes, we need more offensive weapons. There are plenty of choices left after the first round, both TE and WR. Not so safety. (POST-DRAFT UPDATE: We got Amaro, one of the top TEs in the draft.)
9. Furthermore, we have plenty of picks to trade up in the second to get the best possible remaining weapon. Not saying we should, and I definitely don't think we need to, but I for one would be happy if we did at a reasonable cost. (POST DRAFT-UPDATE: We didn't even need to trade up for Amaro. Apparently we did consider trading up for Marquise Lee, but Idzik didn't see a deal he wanted.)
10. The hair! As if you needed more proof this guy is going to be the second coming of Troy Polamalu! (Ok, just kidding. Sort of.)
For these reasons, this pick, together with choosing Richardson last year, will be remembered as the beginning of a new era of success under Idzik. We won't see the full results this coming year. But we will in the next few. I believe.