An undrafted free agent, a third round pick, and a first round pick.
This is what Brandon Browner, Logan Ryan, and Darrelle Revis all were at the beginning of their careers.
But as every team is so often reminded of in each draft every year, no one cares where a team takes you in the draft, it only matters where you take your team.
With the departure of Patriots standout cornerback Aqib Talib from Foxboro, New England went out and got the best available player at the DB position: Darrelle Revis.
The New England Patriots took a bit of a gamble this season, by inking Revis Island to a 1 year, $12 million dollar deal. It’s not very like New England to make such large one year deals with players, the Patriots are usually much more fond of putting together 3 or 4 year deals that offers protection from huge cap hits.
These three players all come from extremely different backgrounds, but together could combine to be one of the National Football League’s top secondaries. Let’s examine each of these three defenders and watch they bring to New England’s pass defense.
First off, is the man who is often in the conversation of the best cornerback in the league, none other than Darrelle Revis. Revis’ numbers speak for himself. Over seven NFL seasons, the former New York Jet and Tampa Bay Buccaneer has accumulated 284 tackles, 21 picks, (367 yards and three touchdowns off of those INT’s) and 109 passes defended. Keep in mind this was accomplished even when Revis missed 14 games in the 2012 season, and three games in 2010.
Revis did not have his typical numbers in 2013, as he was coming off an ACL injury in 2012. The five time Pro-Bowler had 50 tackles,2 interceptions and only 11 passes defended.
When at 100 percent, Revis can take away a teams #1 receiver and sometimes even half of the field. Having a lockdown corner is something New England appreciated heavily in their first four games of 2013 thanks to Aqib Talib.
It’s often common that players of all positions take usually two years to get back to their same original level of health after an ACL tear. If you watched Darrelle Revis last year, you could see that #24 was playing kind of cautious at times, and his numbers were unusually low as a result of this careful play style. If all healed up and back in true form, Revis has the potential try to make a new island for WR’s to visit up in Foxboro.
The next member of New England’s secondary we will examine looks more like a linebacker than a cornerback; Mr. Brandon Browner. Browner checks in at a massive 6’4” 221 lbs. In fact, this former Pro Bowler is taller than any LB on the Patriots current roster.
In Browner’s three year NFL career as a starter in Seattle, the behemoth of a cornerback has collected ten interceptions and defended 39 passes. What is more impressive is that out of the 48 games in those three seasons, Browner only played in 36 of them.
Browner was a standout talent in his first year with the Seahawks, where he had seven of his ten career interceptions in a single season. Since then, Browner’s numbers have dropped, largely due to the fact that he played in 12 games in 2012, and eight games in 2013.
Browner has had some issues between suspensions for PED’s, missing drug tests and substance abuse violations. As a result of these issues, Browner will face a four game suspension at the start of the 2014 season.
Once Browner returns, his long body and physical/big hit play style could be extremely disruptive to New England’s opponent passing attacks. Browner will look to return to that physical, sticky handed CB he was three years ago in his first year in Seattle.
The last man is a name not to many might recognize, but none the less showed some serious talent in the 2013 season: Logan Ryan. He’s got two first names, and can play some great football.
The Patriots have always had a fondness of Rutgers players, and Logan Ryan was a Scarlet Knight himself. Logan Ryan, over the course of the 2013 season, climbed NE’s DB depth chart and will undoubtedly be a starter in the 2014 for the Pats.
Why you ask? Well I’ll give you three reasons why:
1. Ryan had five interceptions,(one being a pick six) 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and ten passes defended in the 2013 regular season. Keep in mind that Ryan only started in less than half of the regular season (7 games started). Imagine what Ryan can do with a starting job through 16 games.
2. In 2013, Logan Ryan was able to hold opposing quarterbacks to a 52.8 passer ratting when targeted, which was 2nd among all corners in the league. And for those wondering who the first was, you guessed it , only Seahawks CB Richard Sherman had a lower passer rating when being targeted. Not exactly in bad company there.
3. People say the reason Ryan was able to have that second lowest passer rating in the NFL was because he wasn’t covering team’s #1 receivers. Believe it or not, the same was said about Richard Sherman in his first season. While true, Ryan still covered some very skilled wide receivers in the 2013 season. One of these WR’s was Eric Decker, who had 1,288 yards and 11 td’s in 2013. However, when he was guarded by Ryan in week 12, Decker had one reception for only five yards, despite begin targeted four times. Ryan stepped up and took one of Denver’s top weapons out of the game, resulting in a Patriots victory.
Revis, Browner, and Ryan all are different types of corners. They have different play styles, different levels of experience and different levels of talent. However, once all three can play together as a DB unit, quarterbacks around the league will have to think twice before throwing on the ‘Island of Doom.’
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[Photo: AP Photo/Bill Kostroun]