I took a lot of heat—rightly so—for prematurely proclaiming that Bill Belichick had built the best secondary in the NFL.
However, Richard Sherman—not a slouch himself, just ask—nearly agreed with me. Via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Sherman ranked the New England Patriots' secondary in the top three:
Man, I think they improved tremendously. They knew what they wanted to do and went out and got the best players available, and some of the best players in the football league to do what they need them to do.
I think they’re going to have specific roles for each one of them, specific role for Darrelle and specific role for Brandon that is going to allow their talent to shine. I think they’ll definitely be a top 2, top-3 secondary in football.
Sherman highlighted the two big free-agent acquisitions, but the depth they create in Dennard, Ryan and Arrington playing further down the line is just as helpful.
Dennard has struggled on No. 1 receivers, but he has shone against No. 2 and No. 3 options. Ryan will now have the flexibility to play wherever—inside, outside, safety—he is needed, while Arrington can concentrate on the slot.
The AFC East isn't known for being a receiving hotbed—the Buffalo Bills are trying to make waves, however—and don't expect receivers to gain much yardage against New England this year.