New England Patriots training camp: 4 returning veterans in danger of getting cut

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Tavon Wilson

2. Tavon Wilson

In the first day of Patriots training camp, Rob Gronkowski embarrassed Wilson. Here’s an account from Erik Scalavino of Patriots Football Weekly, who called it the play of the day:

"During red zone 11-on-11, QB Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back and play-actioned not once, but twice (to his running back and a receiver on an end-around) before firing a pass down the seam to TE Rob Gronkowski. With safety Tavon Wilson trailing him, Gronk raised both arms above his head and kept them there to make the catch in the end zone. He then transferred the ball to his right hand while swatting away Wilson with his left and, in one fell swoop, spiked the football in the back of the end zone."

Of course, this is Gronk we’re talking about, so it’s sort of unfair to pick on Wilson. But this could be a hint of what’s to come for the fourth-year free safety.

After making the clinching interception in the Divisional Round this January, Duron Harmon has proven himself as the best backup for Devin McCourty at free safety. Since picking off four passes as a rookie, Wilson’s role in the secondary has steadily decreased, and 2014 very well could have been his final year in New England.

And it’s not like Wilson stands a good chance of switching to strong safety; Patrick Chung has resurrected his career in a major way, and rookie Jordan Richards looks promising (he picked off Garoppolo yesterday). As for the fifth spot, that is reserved for special teams ace Nate Ebner.

Next: 1. Chris Jones