NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
I know, I know! By now, you probably have had enough on the topic, but I wanted to get my thoughts on Revis leaving and how it affects the Patriots. Plain and simple, the Patriots got worse the second Darrelle Revis signed that massive contract in New York. After reading Revis’s comments though, I think the Patriots were the team that was going to have to wow him with their offer instead of the other way around. Now with Revis and Browner gone, the Patriots went from having arguable one of the best secondaries in the NFL to arguable one of the worst in just one day.
When you look at the names left on this roster, not only is it hard to find a corner that you feel comfortable as your #1, but if we are being completely honest, it’s hard to find a guy to feel comfortable playing the #2 corner spot. The scary part is, that it is not just those two positions that were hurt yesterday. Everyone in that secondary played better in their roles last season because they had a guy like Revis. It put players like McCourty and Chung in position to succeed. It made the pass rush look better than it was because that secondary could lock down players for longer. So this is not just about replacing Revis and Browner, but could mean a change in defensive philosophy. The good thing is, the games do not start tomorrow and there is still time to salvage this defense.
The Patriots are not doing us draftniks any favors, that is for sure. I think we have to assume now that the cornerback position becomes a high priority in the draft and may be a position that they double dip in. Maybe I am a clairvoyant or something, because I have done several write ups for this site on corners(shameless plug.) The problem is I was focusing on players who fit the defensive style they played last year, and I am not sure they will have the personnel to run that style again. So, I decided to go back and look through my notes to see who the Patriots could target to help bolster the secondary.
First round Cornerback Options:
Marcus Peters: Based on the tape alone, Peters looks like a top half of the first round talent. He has good size, gets in and out of breaks quickly, moves well in space, and has scheme flexibility.
Top 40 guys:
Jaelen Collins: Collins might be an option at pick 32, but I would like him better in the second round. Great athlete with ideal size. He only has 10 career starts, so he may be more of a project.
Kevin Johnson: Another guy who moves really well and has good height for the position. Needs to bulk up and add weight, but has great movement skills and I think could play in both schemes.
Byron Jones: Limited tape on him for me so far, but an athletic freak. On tape, seemed a little stiff when he had to turn and run, but his numbers say otherwise. Lots of experience is a plus.
Top 50 guys:
Quinten Rollins: limited experience and lacks elite speed, but is always on the hip pocket of receivers in man to man. Another guy who needs some time to develop.
Round 2 and round 3 guys
Eric Rowe: Tough guy who is a solid tackler. Aggressive player who surprised everyone with his timed speed. Shows scheme flexibility on tape.
P.J. Williams: Not as high on him as most, but he has size and movement skills. He can be too aggressive and doesn’t track the ball well when running with receivers.
Steven Nelson: Smaller player, but tough and plays bigger than he is. I like him better playing in zone, so he now could be a better fit for the Patriots
Ronald Darby: Good size and super fast, has off field baggage and limited experience on the field. Maybe a better pro than college prospect if he develops
Day 3 guys:
Obviously there are other names out there, but these are guys I have had at least a little exposure to. It is going to be very interesting to see who the Patriots take because it could give us a hint on what type of defensive scheme they decide to go with. Even as I write this, I still can’t believe Revis is gone, but it is time to move forward and hopefully add talent to a position that is desperate for it.
Tags: Darrelle Revis