The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is in the books. However, all 32 teams will still be concentrating on adding young prospects on Friday and Saturday in Kansas City. That doesn’t mean that somewhere down the road the clubs won’t be turning back to looking at how some unsigned veterans can bolster their rosters.
It’s often referred to as the “last line of defense.” Having a quality safety can be the cherry on the defensive sundae, especially one who can contribute against the run and the pass. A look at some experienced defenders who can still be solid contributors.
5. S Logan Ryan (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
He has certainly made the rounds in recent seasons after being a steady force for Bill Belichick’s defenses in Foxborough. Logan Ryan began his career at cornerback, but he could be found just about anywhere in the secondary. During his four years with the Patriots, he totaled 13 interceptions, knocked down 41 passes, and was part of two Super Bowl championship teams.
In 10 NFL campaigns with the Pats, Titans, Giants, and Buccaneers, Ryan has picked off 19 passes, 13.0 sacks, and 15 forced fumbles. He played in a career-low nine games with Tampa in 2022.
4. SS Daniel Sorensen (New Orleans Saints)
After eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, safety Daniel Sorensen signed with the New Orleans Saints last offseason. He played in all 17 games for Dennis Allen’s club and contributed on both defense and special teams. There were 17 stops, two interceptions, and three passes defensed, to go along with eight tackles on the kick coverage units.
Sorensen has picked off 14 passes in nine seasons and returned four of those thefts for scores. He’s one of the league’s more physical defensive backs and is worth a look just for his prowess on special teams.
3. FS Rodney McLeod (Indianapolis Colts)
The former undrafted free agent from the University of Virginia began his career with the Rams while they still resided in St. Louis. Safety Rodney McLeod played all 16 games for the team that season but never made a start. That would soon change as over the next 10 years with the Rams, Eagles, and Colts he would be in the opening lineup 138 times.
He earned a Super Bowl ring with Philadelphia in 2017 and has totaled 27 takeaways, including 18 interceptions, in 11 seasons. McLeod played in all 17 games and made 15 starts for Indianapolis in 2022. He finished third on the club with 96 tackles, to go along with two interceptions (1 TD) and a fumble recovery.
Ep 119: Patrick Mahomes' Top 5 List
by Full Press Coverage on May 27, 2023 at 7:49 pm
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2. FS Adrian Amos (Green Bay Packers)
In 2019, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst opened up the franchise’s checkbook and added free-agent defenders such as outside linebackers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, as well as safety Adrian Amos. The latter was a longtime division rival, a fifth-round draft pick by the Bears in 2015.
During his four seasons with Green Bay, Amos started every game with the club, both the regular season (66) and playoffs (5). He finished first (2020) or second on the team in tackles in each of those four seasons. It would not be a shock if he returned to the Packers.
1. John Johnson III (Released by Cleveland Browns)
Back in 2021, the former Rams’ defensive back signed a three-year, $33.75 million contract to join the Browns (via Spotrac). He played and started in a combined 32 contests the past two seasons, including all 17 games in 2022. John Johnson III finished second on the club with 96 defensive stops. The six-year pro had a total of three takeaways, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and added five tackles on special teams.
Cleveland cut Johnson loose after two seasons, saving the team nearly $10 million in cap space. He has started at strong and free safety.
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