Patriot's beat writer Mike Reiss posted today about Tavon Wilson, labeling him a "wild card," and raising some excellent questions about the Patriots safety coming off his rookie season. Based on what we have seen thus far, Wilson's role in future of the secondary is difficult to assess.
I posted on PatriotsLife in January and spoke to the playmaking ability and nose for the ball that Wilson demonstrated throughout the season, and the fact that he definitely showed some promise, which I still believe. However Reiss makes good points in stating that while Wilson saw significant playing time in his rookie year (42.5% of defensive snaps), he still appears to be third string at the safety position behind McCourty and Gregory. He also brings up the play we all remember when he got burned late in fourth quarter by Sidney Rice, cementing a victory for the Seahawks over the Patriots.
|Wilson had 4 INT's and 48 tackles in his first year with the Pats|
Reiss' post was inspired by the statement by Bill Polian that the Patriot's primary need in the draft is at safety, followed by corner back and wide receiver; seemingly diminishing his evaluation of Wilson as a future fixture at the position for the team.
While the Patriots secondary is undeniably their biggest area of weakness; it is hard to truly assess what the situation back there right now as the status of both Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard remain up in the air. Ideally these two are the Patriot's starting corners, which allows McCourty to play safety, the position he is clearly best suited for. But who runs with McCourty back there is the question, whether it be Wilson, Gregory, or a rookie draft pick.
That being said, the possible departure of Talib to free agency and Dennard to jail, or both, could force McCourty back to corner back and leave the safety position even more open. Basically, a lot of the questions with the secondary are truly hinged upon what happens with Talib and Dennard.
Getting back to Wilson- he was a pick that took everyone by surprise last year. Clearly the team saw high potential in him then and still do now based on how much PT he got in his rookie season (which Reiss pointed out was much greater than Patrick Chung got in his first year). That being said, I think it will take more time to determine whether or not he is a long term solution in the area of the defense that will need to improve significantly for the Patriots to get a Super Bowl win. How the team decides to adjust and address their issues in the defensive backfield the rest of the off-season will give us more insight into how they truly feel about Wilson.
What do you guys think? Vote below.