I’m hesitant to read too much into what happens during an OTA, but I thought it was interesting to note that today the Patriots were lining up cornerback Will Allen at the safety position during the majority of drills in Foxborough.
Allen would appear to have a difficult task of making the 53-man roster at corner. With Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling and Kyle Arrington most likely locks at the position Allen would be battling Sterling Moore, Alfonzo Dennard, Malcolm Williams and Marquice Cole for what would most likely be no more than two roster spots. Dennard’s potential will likely give him a spot on the team, and the special teams abilities of Williams and Cole would likely give them an inside edge for a player that low on the depth chart. That leaves Allen, who will turn 34 before the season kicks off, with a rather slim chance of making the squad.
There was no position weaker for the Patriots than safety last year. While the team has added Steve Gregory and Tavon Wilson, there is still not much quality depth there – and we saw how devastating that turned out to be in 2011. If Allen can make the transition then that would give them a decent rotation for the unit, and a bit more breathing room for when the inevitable injury occurs. With offenses throwing the ball more than ever before coverage skills become more important for a safety than they used to. Last year’s coverage by the Pats safeties was not good at all; adding a converted cornerback could help that deficiency.
Plenty of other cornerbacks have successfully made the transition to safety late in their career. Moving Will Allen to safety appears to be something that would serve the Patriots well, and prolong Allen’s career; a win-win for both the team and the player.
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