Is Dawan Landry in trouble?
The addition of safety Calvin Pryor, drafted 18th overall, has fueled speculation about Landry's future with the New York Jets. The website overthecap.com, which does great work on contract and cap-related trends in the NFL, includes Landry on a list of 10 veteran players that could be impacted by the draft -- a kind of way of mentioning players whose jobs could be in jeopardy.
Frankly, I think it would be a mistake to cut Landry. His 2014 salary isn't outrageous ($1.5 million) and, even though he's 31 and doesn't make a lot of big plays, he still has value because of his intangibles. He's the quarterback of the secondary, responsible for making pre-snap checks and getting the players lined up properly. Pryor might have a bright future, but he's certainly not ready to have that on his plate. Neither is third-year safety Antonio Allen, still learning the nuances of the position after playing a quasi-linebacker role in college.
Could you imagine a starting secondary of Pryor, Allen, second-year cornerback Dee Milliner and veteran corner Dimitri Patterson, who is new to the Rex Ryan system? There would be communication breakdowns galore. If they were to cut Landry, they'd have to sign someone with a strong grasp of the system. Ed Reed, you ask? Actually, Reed's free-safety skill set would pair nicely with Pryor, and he obviously knows Ryan's defense. But the future Hall of Famer will be 36 in September and the Jets have been there, done that.
It certainly sounds as if Allen will have a role on defense, if not a starting role. He's at his best in man-to-man coverage, relying on his athletic ability instead of sitting back in a zone and trying to read offenses.
"Antonio Allen is doing a tremendous job and I think he’ll be ready to do some interesting things for us this year," Ryan said after picking Pryor. "His big thing was the position change from what he did in college to the NFL. We knew that would take a little time, and I think actually he’s sped that process up a little faster than maybe anticipated. I really look forward to seeing what he does."