Going into the New England Patriots‘ Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets Thursday, it was thought that Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory would be the starting safeties. Then, if either guy would come out to catch their breath, it was assumed that second-year player Tavon Wilson would spell either of them.
Gregory and McCourty started the game as expected. However, the first guy who came out to take Gregory’s place, who left the game temporarily to be looked at by team athletic trainers, was rookie Duron Harmon.
In fact, Harmon played all eight snaps that Gregory sat out in the game. Additionally, McCourty was forced to play all of the team’s defensive snaps in the free safety spot.
In other words, Wilson did not play a single down in the game Thursday night. It is puzzling to see that Harmon, who is just a rookie, got the reps in the game instead of Wilson, a guy with a full year under his belt and a second-round draft pedigree. It is fair to wonder whether he is officially in Bill Belichick‘s doghouse at this point.
Given the fact that Harmon has seemingly surpassed Wilson on the team’s depth chart, and the fact that safety Nate Ebner, lauded for his special teams’ ability, could be right behind him, Wilson’s time in a meaningful role in New England may have come to an abrupt end. As of right now, drafting Wilson in the second round looks like the major reach it was thought to be in 2012.
As many Patriots’ fans may recall, several football analysts had Wilson as either a late-round-upside pick, or an undrafted free agent at the time he was drafted. The fact that the Patriots chose him in the second round proves that they need to be more selective when it comes to drafting their defensive backs.
In any case, it may take an injury to one or more of their safeties for Wilson to ever crack the starting lineup again. Even then, the team could elect to sign a veteran safety in that circumstance.