Logan Ryan to Patriots: How Does the Cornerback Fit with New England?

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst IApril 26, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Defensive back Logan Ryan #11 returns an interception against the Temple Owls during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 20, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rutgers defeated Temple 35-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Though the New England Patriots return their entire starting secondary for the first time in recent years, their depth at cornerback was extremely thin entering the draft. Logan Ryan was a player on many Pats draftniks' radars, given the Rutgers-to-Foxboro pipeline that started with Devin McCourty and Bill Belichick's close relationship with former coach Greg Schiano.

Ryan is one of those pure football players with elite quickness but short on long speed. He just seems to make plays on the ball and was marked early and often as a potential Patriot.

 

Role

Ryan can play both inside and outside, though his measurables seem to indicate he'd be best suited on the inside. Ryan has elite quickness, as demonstrated by his top performances in both shuttles and the three-cone drill at the combine. Those skills, coupled with his good size, could help him immediately contribute inside against tight ends and slot receivers.

 

Roster Fit

Ryan's direct competition will immediately be with Marquice Cole as the top backup slot corner and special teams player, and also with Ras-I Dowling as the top backup outside corner to Alfonzo Dennard and Aqib Talib. He could possibly even be a fit at safety, though he'll surely begin his career as a cornerback.

 

Early Projections

Corner is one of the hardest positions to project given how frequently injuries seem to hit the position, but it would not be surprising to see Ryan playing a significant role for the 2013 Patriots. It could be in the slot, it could even be at outside corner, but there's no question his physicality and instincts will be an asset for Bill Belichick.