Patrick Peterson, Antoine Bethea, Tyrann Mathieu, Justin Bethel, Brandon Williams, Tyvon Branch, Budda Baker, Elie Bouka, Rudy Ford, Harlan Miller, Jumal Rolle, Ronald Zamort, Ironhead Gallon, Sojourn Shelton, Ryan Lewis, De’Chavon Hayes, Daniel Gray
There is Patrick Peterson then there are a lot of questions.
What does Antoine Bethea have left in the tank?
Can Tyrann Mathieu stay healthy?
Who steps up between Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams?
Can Tyvon Branch stay healthy?
Budda Baker will take some lumps as a rookie, but he has the potential to be great.
Who is Elie Bouka?
Can Rudy Ford make the change to safety?
Is Harlan Miller as good as he played late in the year?
That’s not to say that all of these players will be unable to answer the bell, but there are no certainties outside of Peterson heading into 2017.
Which makes the race in the secondary so exciting, but also nerve racking to watch.
Rolle, Zamort, Shelton, Lewis, Hayes and Gray will all have a shot to make the roster, but it will be more about what they can do on special teams... at least we hope.
Peterson is great and Bethel finds his footing as the second corner, Mathieu is able to stay healthy with the addition of Budda Baker and the duo of Bethea and Branch are able to give you enough that Tony Jefferson is an after thought.
Brandon Williams gets some reps as their fourth corner, allowing Bethel to show his versatility and move inside at times, again helping take some wear off of Mathieu, but also allowing Baker to be brought along slowly.
I think we see the backend like this:
10 defensive backs is a lot, but I don’t know who you cut and last year they kept nine DB’s and nine DL to start the season, so I think this is how it ends.
Bethel and Branch are the only two who would be surprises, right? Both took paycuts to stay, but there are a lot of young, hungry players behind them.
Although, I don’t see it happening.