From time to time over the past few years, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison has explained that his former teams needs to add a player like, well, him.
Finally, he thinks they have in Adrian Wilson, who was signed by New England after being cut by the Cardinals.
“Adding him, the veteran leadership, the presence, the respect factor, he’s a guy that’s a terrific blitzer, and a physical presence,” Harrison told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “I think he can come in especially during nickel and dime situations, and come down [close to the line] and play that second linebacker position like I did. He’s physical enough to help out in the run game, but he can also cover tight ends. So he can be that guy next to [Jerod] Mayo who can come in and really make a difference in that nickel and dime package. . . . It’s a fantastic move. I think he’ll help the Patriots immediately. I think he’ll hold people accountable.”
But what about Ed Reed? Many believed that Pats coach Bill Belichick would make a beeline for the now-former Raven, who signed with the Texans.”For what the Patriots need, they don’t need Ed Reed. They need an Adrian Wilson,” Harrison said. “They don’t need a free safety that can intercept balls. They have that. Devin McCourty is that Ed Reed [role]. He doesn’t have that name behind him. But he is developing into a young safety. They need a guy like Adrian Wilson who can really give them versatility in those nickel and dime packages. He’ll help that secondary right away.”
Harrison recognizes that Wilson has lost a step, but he’s at a point in his career where every player loses a step.
“The one question he’ll have to answer, will he be a full-time, every down safety?” Harrison said. “Can he cover in open space? Will he be able to cover the deep half of the field? That’s a lot of questions. But I’ll say it again, I think this is a good move for the Patriots.”
For a team with an offense that has been good enough in recent years to win another Super Bowl, Wilson could be the guy who helps make the difference on the defensive side of the ball.