Last night I wrote a piece on whether or not the Patriots should take a chance on former LSU standout Tyrann Mathieu should he be available in the late rounds of the draft. But evaluating the plethora of secondary talent in this year's draft; they should have a chance to upgrade the defensive backfield much earlier if they want.
Kenny Vaccaro, coming out of Texas, has established himself as the best at the position in this year's class, and is expected to go in the first round before the Patriots would have a chance at him. In an article from earlier today, the Herald's Jeff Howe listed Matt Elam (Florida), Johnathan Cyprien (Florida International), South Carolina's D.J Swearinger, and LSU's Eric Reid as potential safetys who could be available for the Patriots to take with the 29th pick.
|Hard-hitting Florida safety Matt Elam has been discussed as a potential early pick for the Patriots|
Elam has probably the most discussed of these candidates, and unfortunately has drawn a number of comparisons to Brandon "Big Bang Clock" Meriweather. He is probably not the ideal player Elam wants to be compared to at this point, as we all know Meriweather's propensity for big (and dumb) hits ended up compromising the definite talent he possessed. Then again, with a defensive unit whose toughness has been called into question; maybe an enforcer like Elam is what they need. And, Belichick is historically been a big fan of Florida's system.
With Tom Brady signing an extension assuring he will retire a Patriot today, and a contract for Wes Welker likely the next shoe to drop; it is time for the team to focus on the other side of the ball where they simply need to get better if they want to contend for a Super Bowl. We need a defense that can win us games when the offense is unable to. And that is far from being the case right now.
The already questionable secondary has been riddled with even more question marks this off-season, as Aqib Talib's future remains up in the air and Alfonzo Dennard may be facing jail time. And let's face it- while they have all made some nice plays in recent years, Chung, Gregory, and Tavon Wilson are mediocre safetys, at best. The team can certainly do better. Whether or not they use the draft as the means of addressing the issue is something we will find out shortly. How things play out with Talib will shed some light on the situation.
I personally still love the idea of trying to bring in a veteran like Ed Reed or Charles Woodson. Far from an original view point I know, but I really think they could bring a level of experience at the position that could transform the young defensive unit entirely. Furthermore, I believe the Patriots will take an offensive lineman with their first round pick. Burning a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a middle of the pack safety is something I would hesitate at.
The defense needs to get better sooner rather than later. There isn't a ton of time to develop an undeveloped, project player. They need a kid who is ready to contribute and be a factor immediately. Unless they are able snag one of the top players at the position, I do not think the draft is the answer for the Patriots at safety.
What do you guys think? Let us know: @PatriotsLife or @LiamPCunningham
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Welp, cross Matt Elam off the Patriots draft list