Pass defense has been a major issue for the New England Patriots for the past three seasons. Since 2010, the Patriots ranked 30th, 31st, and 29th, respectively, in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
You could say it’s because teams throw on them more due to the Patriots often being ahead, but during their 2007 16-0 regular season, they ranked 12th in passing yards allowed. In the majority of those games, they were also ahead.
Teams are gaining yards through the air on New England for one reason: because they know that’s their best chance at moving the chains.
Here are three defensive backs that the Patriots could target in the 2013 NFL Draft:
Jamar Taylor, Boise State: Taylor stands at 5-foot-11, 192 pounds and was one of the main reasons for Boise State’s fourth-ranked passing defense in 2012. The redshirt senior earned a spot on the All-Mountain West First Team after making 51 tackles and breaking up nine passes. A stress fracture in his leg forced him to miss four games in 2011, but he returned for his bowl game where he returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown. Taylor wasn’t a big name nationally, but his stock has jumped over the last couple months. He’s now slated to go late first round.
Desmond Trufant, Washington: There’s a lot to like about the 6-foot Trufant, but let’s start with the fact that he already has two brothers in the NFL, both cornerbacks, in Marcus and Isaiah. Trufant obviously grew up in a football family, and Bill Belichick is one to put stock in NFL bloodlines. But Trufant can play, too, and most experts label him a lockdown cornerback, one that is often times left to handle his man one-on-one – and does. He’s also a late-first candidate.
Tyrann Mathieu, LSU: The wildcard. Mathieu was once considered one of the top football players in all of college before drugs got in the way and got him kicked off the LSU squad. But Mathieu claims he’s clean now, and the Patriots may be willing to give him a shot. He’s small – just 5-foot-9 – but plays bigger than that. He’s a versatile player who just seems to know where to be, and he’s also valuable as a punt returner. Would the Pats gamble in the third round?