Needs Analysis: Safety

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by BradyManny, Nov 30, 2008.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    SAFETY (6), 1 signed, 5 unsigned

    FS - Meriweather (2011)

    SS/FS - Sanders
    SS/LB - Williams
    SS - Harrison
    FS - Spann (RFA?)

    Practice Squad
    S - Dillard

    LOCKS (1):
    Meriweather is the only safety under contract for next season. I imagine the team will make every effort to re-sign James Sanders.


    1) Starting Strong Safety 2) SS/LB hybrid 3) Depth at either position


    - Sanders has been a reliable starter and can play either position. The team would be in good shape if they could re-sign him.
    - The team planned to use Williams as a coverage LB before his season ending injury. If he comes back healthy, the team may again sign him to a low risk-high reward contract
    - Harrison may be done, or at the very least, would miss the start of the 08 season. If he doesn’t hang it up, the team could bring him in mid-season next year in the case of an injury.
    - Spann looked good in pre-season and is now on the roster with Harrison injured. He could be re-signed and provide depth at FS.
    - Dillard is a long term prospect at strong safety, but isn’t likely to make the 53.

    - The team should work quickly to re-sign James Sanders so it can go into the draft in a position of strength. Hypothetically, they could also re-sign Williams and Spann and essentially be set at the position, although the draft could provide a cheap, higher upside solution.

    Bottom Line: 3 players are needed. They could solve all problems in-house by re-signing the guys they have, but they could and should look for a safety in the draft for competition and upside.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    As usual, feedback on prospects of interest are guy on my radar is Nic Harris from Oklahoma as an SS/LB hybrid potential.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

  4. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    I agree with the analysis. We do need 3 players. I believe this is the #1 draft priority.

    And yes, theoretically, we could be all set if we re-signed Sanders, a healthy Tank WIlliams, and Spann. However, I think that we need more talent at this position.
  5. need some size to take TE's on for the deeper routes.......

    I'm figuring there will be 2 vets and 2 rookies brought into the mix.......would not be surprised to see the pats in the running for the top FA's for the position.........a rework ala 2002-2003 is in store
  6. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams I'm no Mona Lisa Vito.... Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Taylor Mays, 4.4 40 yard dash, hits like a truck.
  7. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Yeah, it seems like if Mayo and Guyton are going to be on the field for passing downs, the SS/LB hybrid isn't as necessary. Though instead of sticking the hybrid player at ILB, the hybrid could be more of what Rodney was this year, when he was either covering TEs or slot receivers or covering the flats in zone. That still requires a safety with above average size and adequate coverage skills, so a Nic Harris type might fit. That would also seem to fit for your post in the other thread with OLB Jonathan Casillas or LB Michael Brown.

    The Pats probably could've used such a player yesterday when they went to the nickel package quite a bit in place of the base 3-4 and the Steelers ran the ball with a lot of success.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  8. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    My real question is how do they value Sanders. I think he's good but is he upgradeable long term? That could be an area they target if they see a prospect who could be an upgrade at SS within a year or two.
  9. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    His measurable sound great, but I remember Ochmed Jones saying his play didn't stack up.
  10. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    No Jersey Selected

    I completely agree. Lil' Jimmy Sanders is simply not a starting-calibre SS on a team with SB aspirations. His open-field tackling is weak, and his opponents do not fear him (quite the opposite, I imagine). I would offer him, Tank & Spann only their respective vet minimums, and not one penny more.
  11. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Historically BB has preferred a strong communicator, extremely respected, veteran big play thumper at SS.

    Although he plays the position now, I do not see Sanders as that type player. I see Sanders as a FS type that makes no big plays but won't normally give up many either.

    I think Wilson of the Cardinals would be perfect in the BB defense, and I think he BB can't get Wilson, he would prefer another veteran before using a high draft pick on a rookie.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    With James Sanders as a free agent, decisions need to be made at safety in this off-season.

  13. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    No Jersey Selected

    I would love Adrian Wilson here too, but that seems unlikely. But remember, Lawyer Milloy was a rookie under Belichick in '96, so a rookie starting at SS for him is not unprecedented. Milloy was their starter then, wasn't he?
  14. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 Supporter Supporter

    #54 Jersey

    Again, super breakdown. But enough with the pleasantries, "All Set" if Sanders, Williams and Spann are re-signed? Wow, you are an easy grader, seems like a collection of allstar JAGS. I think they need a impact player, my money is on Mike Brown (Bears). Knowing his history he signs and then gets hurt in pre-season...

    This is about the only glaring hole on the team going into 09. All other units can be improved but Safety is a mess. The good news is that Safeties are relatively cheap and quality players can be found in later rounds. That being said Mays (USC) is supposed to be the #1 Safety is he comes out.
  15. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Yes, but Al Groh was the DC that year, not BB. BB had to made good with what was already here.
  16. satz

    satz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Safety has 2 position and in our scheme FS and SS play different role.

    FS : Merriweather is good in this as the coverage providing safety. keep him away from the LINE or Box like last year where they tryed him their to injuries.

    SS : Sanders at 225-230 LB lower side if the 4-3 LB size so one needs to compare him to that role. Any replacement should be big enough to not get smashed by pulling gaurds or TE coming out the LINE [merriweather got injured ]

    Hybrid : Sanders + 10 LB - 4-3 LB Size . You put this guy in their for a LB as he is better in coverage and does not allow the box to get too light against the run. this safety is about 15 lb lighter and hence faster than your ILB.
  17. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    I have a hard time evaluating Sanders' play. He has had his up and down moments this season. He's taken a couple bad angles that led to big plays. He's missed a couple tackles here and there. But he's also generally a real sound tackler, and generally we don't see the coverage mistakes often.

    So I'm not sure how to evaluate his play, particularly since the TV doesn't show safety play much, but the fact that he is probably #2 on the team in snaps tells me the team has to have faith in him.

    Belichick doesn't just play guys for the heck of it, and Sanders was up there in snaps even before Harrison went out. To me, that's the best indication of what the coaches think of his play.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  18. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Agree w the assessment. The way I see it - The Pats have mixed up the coverages a little bit more this year to my eyes (could just be my lack of paying attention or knowledge) but they remain a team that plays a lot of cover 3 and likes freeing up their strong safety, and having their corners prevent the deep ball. So they need a centerfielder type safety (Meriweather) and an SS who can be a force against the run, and cover TEs/the flats.

    Harrison was struggling in coverage this season, but was good against the run, as always. I don't know if he'll be back given his age and the nature of his injury.

    The team seems to have confidence in James Sanders as a SS, so he might be the answer long term.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  19. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    Except James Sanders is not playing the traditional SS, he's playing more of a FS role and Meriweather is the one more likely to be brought down close to the LOS.

    I can understand why BB was experimenting with Tank Williams in the box, but I think Guyton's emergence has made that a moot point. Factor in that Ruud was a pretty effective coverage LB at Nebraska (5 interceptions and 13 PBUs) and Alexander was a SS converted to MLB at LSU and Mayo is pretty good too, and you have a pool of coverage LBs to work with on Nickel and Dime sets.

    Some more names to ponder:

    - Chris Clemons, Clemson has good size, but his speed is a concern, we'll need to watch his Combine/pro-Day data.
    - Darian Stewart, South Carolina is a junior, but he has size and stood out to me watching a DVR of the Clemson game - he'll probably stay, but he's one to monitor.
  20. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 Supporter Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    Do you think they might be viewing Ruud as more of a Don Davis hybrid LB/S type?
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