The selection of safety Tavon Wilson in the second round of last year’s draft by the New England Patriots was widely regarded as a major surprise. But the 48th overall pick in the 2012 draft exceeded expectations as he played 42.5 percent of the defensive snaps, making 48 tackles, intercepting four passes and deflecting six passes in 16 games this season.
Wilson was criticized at the beginning of the season as he was the culprit for many of the lapses in the Patriots defense giving up big plays. The most notable lapse by Wilson came against the Seattle Seahawks when his deep-field coverage hiatus allowed Sidney Rice to catch a 64 yard touchdown pass as the Patriots lost in the final minute of the game.
Despite his early season miscues, Wilson turned in a fine rookie season, learning to limit the deep pass plays, which he initially struggled with in coverage. Wilson gave up a total of four receptions of 20 or more yards and allowed just 11.4 yards per completion as his solid coverage skills and potent tackling abilities were displayed.
Starters Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory are expected to return next season, which could limit Wilson’s starting chances. Still, Wilson deserves valuable playing time given his all-around play. There has been hearsay that the Patriots will attempt to lure talented safety Ed Reed to New England, but as of right now the Indianapolis Colts remain the favorite to land Reed because of his relationship with Head Coach Chuck Pagano.
Tavon Wilson has a chance to be a critical part of the New England’s defense. If he can improve on his rookie season, he can help shore up the safety position. Given the uncertainties surrounding the cornerback position for the Patriots, it is vital to make sure the safety position is strong moving forward.