3 players the Patriots could have drafted instead of Chad Ryland

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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Players the Patriots could have drafted instead of Chad Ryland #3: Dee Winters

Despite drafting four players who can play as defensive backs, the one thing the Patriots defense lacked this season was speed. Christian Gonzalez, Marcus Jones, and Isaiah Bolden suffering injuries didn’t help.

Jonathan Jones missed game time and was injured, too, but he’s 30 now, so he’s probably not quite as quick as he was at his combine when he clocked a 4.33. But you get the picture: it was a gruesome season for injuries to defensive backs (yet the offense struggled).

One player who would have been fun to see in a Patriots uniform is Dee Winters. He fell all the way to the 6th round, where the 49ers gobbled him up. Winters is technically a linebacker, but he’s a little undersized. He did, however, run a 4.49-second 40-yard dash. That’s the same time Christian McCaffrey clocked at his combine. 

Winters only played 60 snaps for the 49ers' defense during the regular season (he was in on 605 of the special teams snaps, though), but their linebacking corps is absolutely loaded. And because Steve Wilks prefers to lineup with an extra defensive back rather than an extra linebacker.

Even in his limited game time, he still managed to make ten tackles without missing any and successfully defended 4 of the 12 passes. They even sent him on a blitz once. 

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