Veteran cornerback Logan Ryan wears the No. 26 jersey, so he is the subject of discussion today as we mark 26 days until the Patriots open 2016.
Size: 5-foot-11, 191 pounds
NFL experience: Three seasons
Selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft after slipping down the draft board, Ryan is now the longest-tenured cornerback on the Patriots’ roster. Through three NFL seasons with the Patriots, Ryan has accumulated 167 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, 31 passes defended and 11 interceptions. As a rookie, Ryan impressed by racking up five picks, including a pick-six of Geno Smith; and although he was a depth player in the super season of 2014, Ryan appeared in all 19 games for the Patriots. In fact, Ryan has yet to miss a game as a pro.
Last year, Ryan took the reins as the Patriots’ No. 2 cornerback starting opposite Malcolm Butler. The role suited Ryan well, as he regularly received safety help over the top from Devin McCourty. Ryan more than held his own against top-tier wideouts such as DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas with McCourty’s security blanket behind him, a scheme we will almost certainly see repeated in 2016.
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Of course, there have been struggles along the way for Ryan. Often labeled a “soft” cornerback by Patriots fans screaming at their television after Ryan gives up a few uncontested completions in a row, the Rutgers product is a few tiers down from an elite corner like Butler. And it’s also true that the majority of Ryan’s interceptions have been thrown directly at him (talking about you, Kirk Cousins). But the fact remains that Ryan has taken advantage of those errant throws, and as an NFL cornerback, that is part of your job.
Ryan’s spot on the final roster is safe, and he projects as a starting cornerback on the outside. Entering a contract year, Ryan will look to increase his interception total and continue to lock down the best wide receivers in the AFC.
Tomorrow marks 25 days until the Patriots open 2016, so stop by Musket Fire as we profile the owner of the No. 25 jersey, safety Patrick Chung.