The Patriots raised some eyebrows when they took safety Tavon Wilson in the second round last month.
Now that he’s under contract, we’ll get to find out what they saw in him that draft pundits overlooked. The Patriots announced Tuesday that they have reached agreement on a four-year deal with Wilson. The team also announced that they have released quarterback Mike Hartline.
Wilson should battle Steve Gregory for the starting job at free safety this summer. The Patriots hope that his speed — Wilson, who also played cornerback at times in college, ran a 4.52 40 — translates to playmaking ability on the back end for a secondary that was looking under every rock it could find for help last season.
Wilson is the first of the seven New England draft picks to sign a contract. As Florio pointed out over the weekend, the contracts of first-round picks Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower might be more difficult to negotiate than it has seemed in this year of painless rookie contract signings.