FOXBORO -- There wasn't a whole lot of buzz surrounding Tavon Wilson in last April's draft. But the Patriots, seemingly impervious to popular opinion, picked him anyway -- and in the second round, no less.
It was clear they believed in him as a senior coming out of the University of Illinois, and it looks as though the rookie has made good on their good faith so far in training camp.
"I think he's been steady for us since he's got here," Bill Belichick said in his press conference Thursday. "Tavon works hard, he's very attentive. You ask him a question, he really pays attention. And he's a hard-working kid both on and off the field."
He'll need to be if he wants to make an immediate impact in New England. The Patriots signed veteran safety Steve Gregory this offseason, and the 29-year-old has been getting most of the first-team reps alongside strong safety Patrick Chung. For Wilson to get to Gregory's level in the secondary -- even though Gregory is still feeling his way around New England's system -- will probably take some time.
But Wilson's making positive strides, according to his coach.
"Steady improvement. Long way to go. Tough position to play," Belichick said. "Tough position to transition into because of a lot of the different things in the passing game, formations, matchups. All those type of things that veteran safeties would recognize: Where the advantage of the matchup is for the offense, and what we can do about it schematically or what we can do about it in terms of anticipation by formation and so forth?
"I think Wilson is coming along. As long as we can keep making progress and keep heading in the right direction, I think eventually it'll come together for a lot of these guys."