The New England Patriots made a wise decision in signing veteran strong safety Adrian Wilson, who was one of the elite safeties in the league as recently as 2011. Things fell apart for Wilson in his final season with the Arizona Cardinals last season, as he had a mediocre year and was released by the team in the offseason. Wilson has found a new home with the New England Patriots, and it has become clearer to me that the Cardinals and others exaggerated his struggles last season in coverage. He’s not going to be asked to go into deep coverage with the Patriots, because that’s Devin McCourty’s role, and he is exceptional at it. Wilson will instead take care of short and intermediate routes, and that is where he excels.
Wilson showed us all that he still has it on pass defense, as he picked off a trick pass at yesterday’s minicamp and made an incredible, diving effort to stop a pass to Zach Sudfeld at the goal-line. From what I’ve read from the beat writers, Adrian Wilson was the Patriots top performer on the first day of minicamp, and he drew some praise from head coach Bill Belichick today at his press conference.
Belichick said, via ESPN Boston, “Adrian has done a good job. He’s worked hard. Very professional. Has a real good attitude. Has a lot of experience. We’ll see how all the rest of it plays out. I would imagine what [players] were referring to is how he carries himself, the way he goes about his job. Works hard. Smart guy. Experienced. And he’s really tried to learn and buy into our program and do everything he can to find a way to contribute. I think he’s very well respected.”
Adrian Wilson’s experience, work ethic, and intelligence are all what make him such a great team player with off-the-charts intangibles. Wilson was a fan favorite in Arizona, and he is quickly becoming a well-liked player among Patriots fans. His role as a leader in the secondary is one that the Patriots needed, and rising second-year safety Tavon Wilson will benefit from the elder Wilson’s knowledge.