The New England Patriots seemingly decided to make Adrian Wilson their new starting strong safety by signing him to a three-year deal in free agency, and he is still fully expected to be the starter over Steve Gregory (and youngsters Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson). But Wilson had an off year last year, and he also had an off game against the Detroit Lions. While that isn’t much of anything to go off of in my opinion, those aren’t the only reasons why the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin believes that Adrian Wilson is on the bubble.
Volin believes that Wilson might not have much in the tank after watching him in August, and that’s a legitimate concern. While Wilson had a terrific 2011 season in which he was still among the league’s elite safeties, the Arizona Cardinals soured on his play last season. I believe the Cardinals exaggerated his decline in coverage ability, but they did feel the need to bench him in nickel situations and the new regime cut him loose in the offseason.
Adrian Wilson’s ability in deep coverage is so poor at this stage that it is foolish to use him there. However, the same can be said for Steve Gregory, who is clearly best utilized in the role the Patriots had him against the Lions; close to the line of scrimmage as a third safety who can make some plays happen. Wilson doesn’t have the speed to hang deep downfield, but he is excellent on short and intermediate routes. His size and experience are important, and I would much rather have him starting over any other prospective candidate on this roster. Three years might be too long, but it’s clearly not worth releasing him just to save $330,000 this season. Volin has some solid reasons, but I definitely cannot agree with Wilson being in danger of a cut.