It’s time for a new feature on the site, and these 2013 profiles will take a closer look at certain players on the New England Patriots roster. I’m not sure how many of these I’ll do, but I will plan on at least doing one for every player of significance on the roster. Logan Ryan is one of those guys as one of the Patriots third-round selections this year, and he will most likely slot in as the fifth cornerback on the roster behind outside starters Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard, nickel corner Kyle Arrington, and (well, you know the deal regarding injuries) Ras-I Dowling.
At Rutgers last season, Ryan picked off seven passes, and he showed off excellent ball skills. In my opinion, Ryan plays a lot like another Rutgers CB on the Patriots roster in Kyle Arrington, because he’s more quick than fast, plays the run well, is aggressive, but is also burn-prone. Even though I am a staunch supporter of Arrington’s and view him as a solid nickel corner, most of me hopes that Logan Ryan doesn’t end up being a carbon copy of Arrington. The Pats already have Arrington locked up for four seasons as the starting nickel corner, so I am hoping that Ryan shows better on the outside than Arrington. As we saw last season, Arrington goes from being a very good slot corner to being a huge liability in coverage on the outside due to his lack of long speed and overly-aggressive style of play.
Ryan seems like the perfect match for the Patriots because of his high character, the Rutgers attached to his name, and the fact that he is yet another physical CB who can play the run. Bill Belichick certainly loves corners who can play run defense (Talib, Arrington, and Devin McCourty are examples with Deon Butler being the antithesis), and Ryan can certainly deliver the hits.
One thing that Ryan needs to do is tone down his aggressiveness downfield and play with more discipline, because he could be prone to pass interference calls. This is a guy who is more of a “future” player for the Patriots, and you could even call him a contingency plan at cornerback. This is a position where depth is extremely important, and, as we’ve seen with Dowling, corners can go down with injuries at any moment. Ryan could even become a starter in New England if he impresses enough, but he’s just a dime corner at most right now. With all the depth and young talent at CB, the Patriots are in line for a quiet position battle there, and the development of a player like Ryan could dictate what happens to Aqib Talib, assuming his market is more robust next offseason.
It wasn’t hard to guess that the New England Patriots would select a cornerback in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Logan Ryan was the pick in the third round. His skill-set is eerily similar to Kyle Arrington’s, and that must have been appealing to Belichick for all the reasons stated above (including high character). The one thing Ryan has to do, though, is separate himself from the pack and carve his own niche in the Patriots secondary. Ryan’s ball skills are a more unique quality in comparison to the Pats secondary. I’m not saying the Pats don’t have their fair share of ballhawks (Devin McCourty is not somebody you want to throw at, let’s just put it that way), but the ability that Ryan showed last season to force turnovers and defend passes is something the Patriots could really use. We’ll see if Ryan can climb up the depth chart, but I have a feeling Ryan is a solid depth piece for now and a potential starter in the future if he can tap into his potential and show a little something extra.