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Adrian Wilson Will Help the New England Patriots Win Now

Wilson May Have Seen His Playing Time Drop Last Season, but He is Still a Top-tier NFL Safety

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COMMENTARY | When the New England Patriots signed five-time Pro Bowl strong safety Adrian Wilson this offseason, they immediately injected size, toughness and over a decade of experience into a youthful secondary.

After some midseason tweaks in 2012, like trading for Aqib Talib and moving Devin McCourty to free safety full time, New England's secondary really started to play well, but it was far from perfect.

They still lacked a physical aggressor and someone capable of covering tight ends.

As Bleacher Report's Erik Frenz pointed out, the 6-foot-3 230-pound Wilson should be able to help in that department.

"[The Patriots] ranked 29th against tight ends in coverage [in 2012], according to Football Outsiders. Can Adrian Wilson help with that? There's some indication he might. He allowed just 12 completions into his coverage all year, and at a rate of just 44.4 percent."

For those of you who heard rumblings that Wilson's playing time in Arizona decreased last season because he could no longer cover, those numbers should make you think again.

While his playing time did drop to 83 percent of the defensive snaps in 2012 after only missing 15 snaps in 2011 (h/t Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe ), it likely had more to do with the new coaching staff transitioning to younger options than Wilson's actual play on the field.

When asked about his decreased playing time, Wilson himself hinted to the media that this was probably the case (per

"To have a new coaching staff come in and do whatever it is they have to do, as far as letting veteran players go and things like that, it was a decision that they made," Wilson said in a conference call. "The situation last year was strictly a coaches' decision. I don't think that had anything to do with me losing a step...physically I feel great. I take great care of my body, so that's not an issue...That was a coaches' call."

The Cardinals knew they didn't have a playoff team last season. They lost nine games in a row and ultimately finished 5-11. They weren't in "win now" mode; they were building for the future.

So while Wilson was still playing well, at 33 years old, he wasn't the future.

But luckily for Bill Belichick and company, the Pats are built to win now.

Rodney Harrison, who landed with the Patriots in 2003 in similar fashion after being cut by the Chargers, thinks Wilson can help right away (per Mike Florio of the ProFootballTalk).

"Adding him, the veteran leadership, the presence, the respect factor, he's a guy that's a terrific blitzer, and a physical presence...It's a fantastic move. I think he'll help the Patriots immediately. I think he'll hold people accountable."

The situation in Arizona last year really didn't allow Wilson to flourish, but he can still play.

Let's not forget this guy was named All-Pro as recent as 2011 (his fourth time doing so) and was named to the Pro Bowl for four consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2011.

Wilson has had 25.5 sacks and 27 interceptions in his career and is known throughout the league as one of the last true "hard-hitting" safeties.

We're talking about one of the best safeties to the play game and he's still playing at a high level.

That is a great addition for a team built to win now.

James DiMaio is a Yahoo! contributor who also covers the NFL and the New England Patriots for Bleacher Report.

You can follow James on Twitter @JamesDiMaio.

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