Belichick: Ryan could get a shot at safety

Belichick: Ryan could get a shot at safety
May 10, 2014, 10:15 pm
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FOXBORO -- A quick glance at the Patriots roster before this weekend showed that the Patriots might benefit from the addition of a safety via the draft.

After All-Pro Devin McCourty and second-year player Duron Harmon, there appeared to be few three-down options.

The team acquired Patrick Chung before the season began. He could get at a chance at a starting role, but that was something he lost during his last tour in New England. His body of work in Philadelphia since then doesn't scream that he necessarily deserves another go.

The others at the position -- Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, Kanorris Davis -- project as special teamers.

Yet after three days of drafting, the Patriots acquired just one defensive back, a bit of a tweener from Georgia Tech named Jemea Thomas.

Thomas played all over the secondary in college and proved to be reliable in almost every role. Would he get a shot at the back end of the Patriots 'D'?

"I think we're gonna kind of have to see how that goes," Bill Belichick said on Saturday night. "But based on our experience with him, our workouts, watching him play, I think he's got the ability to work at all three spots. [Corner, safety and slot.] I think he's got some versatility. He's smart, he runs well, he's a tough kid, he's a good tackler so I think that there's definitely a place defensively to have a player like that.

"Logan Ryan was different but had some similarities that last year [at Rutgers] where he played outside, he played in the slot, played some snaps at safety. . . "
 
A report from the Boston Herald earlier this offseason said that the Patriots would try Ryan at safety after he primarily played corner in his rookie season. Belichick explained on Saturday how that could be an option.

"Yeah we'll have to see how it all goes," he said. "Last year we had [Marquise] Cole sort of did that. Played some safety, played some nickel corner, played a little bit on the perimeter.

"Logan did that and we'll have to see how it all comes together, but I would imagine in the spring we would probably give those guys some exposure -- somebody I dunno if all of them. We'll just have to see how it goes here. I think there's definitely a place for that."

Belichick went on to explain that in today's NFL, with various offensive schemes built to maximize options in the passing game, it pays to have defensive backs who can move from corner, to slot corner, to safety depending on who is on the field.

"With the different personnel groups and different types of receivers that we see, every time it's three receivers, it's not quite three receivers," Belichick said. "It depends on who those three guys are and how you want to match up on them and so forth. Some flexibility for us defensively is probably a good thing over a long haul."