Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Adrian Wilson thinks he still has a lot to offer to Pats


There's a fine line between being a veteran and being over the hill.

New England Patriots safety Adrian Wilson is toeing that line, heading into his 13th season in the NFL. Don't expect him to admit it, though. (photo: Victor Dorantes, Flickr)

Wilson was in a bit of diminished role in the Arizona Cardinals' pass defense last season (42nd among all safeties in total snaps), but the new New England Patriots' safety said he's still got plenty to offer.

"Obviously players slow down as they get older, but they also have experience and they’ve seen a lot of things as far as football," Wilson said Tuesday, via Mike Reiss at ESPNBoston.com. To say that a person is not good enough, that wouldn’t be the right verbiage to use, as far as that is concerned.

"I feel like I can help this team win. That’s pretty much what I’m here to do."

Though Wilson's stats have dropped off in the past few years (two INTs, three sacks in 2011-12), his overall play hasn't taken much of a hit. While Wilson wasn't on the field as much as other safeties, he held receivers to a 44.4 percent completion rate on receptions in his coverage last year when he was, according to Pro Football Focus. That was second best among all safeties. Along the same lines, Wilson had only five missed tackles last season, fourth least at the position.

And though it's still unclear how much Bill Belichick and his staff decide to use Wilson on the field, he'll most certainly be used for his knowledge and opinion off of it, particularly with the team's most recent acquisitions. 

New England picked up a pair of Rutgers defensive backs in the draft last weekend, and the team currently has three others on the roster that have only a year of experience in the league. We've mentioned before safety Devin McCourty's excitement about a seasoned vet like Wilson in the backfield, and if nothing else Wilson could act as a mentor for the young group coming in. 

All speculation aside, New England's secondary has been anything but consistent the past few years. While Wilson may be pushing 34 years of age, his experience, size and smash-mouth playing style are something the team has been lacking in the defensive backfield for some time. His presence will be a vast improvement the depth chart, and his know-how was a steal (3 years, $5 million) at the price they grabbed him for.

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