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4 Reasons I Love the Patriots Signing of Shawn Springs

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN is now confirming through sources that Shawn Springs has agreed to a contract with the Patriots.

Pasquarelli notes:

“Springs, agreed to a contract with the Patriots on Thursday, after visiting with team officials, a source told ESPN.com. The move continues a trend by the Pats in recent years of signing a veteran cornerback in the offseason to bolster their defense.”

However, this offseason veteran cornerback signing has me more exited for several reasons.

  1. He’s better than Lewis Sanders, the veteran corner we signed almost exactly a year ago (unlikely to be resigned now), and the other veteran corner we signed last September – Deltha O’Neal (Now a free-agent). Here are their profiles / career splits: Lewis Sanders – 30 yrs old, 9 yr veteran, 97 career games, 29 starts, 198 tackles, 5 INT’s, Deltha O’Neal – 32 yrs old, 9 yr veteran, 132 career games, 85 starts, 339 tackles, 34 INT’s, Shawn Springs – 33 yrs old, 12 yr veteran, 143 career games, 134 starts, 372 tackles, 32 INT’s. Yes, Springs may a year older than O’Neal, but unlike both O’Neal and Sanders; if Springs is healthy (his biggest achilles heel if you will), he’s a starter in this league – even today. Lewis has been a career back-up and was never in the same pedigree as O’Neal and Springs; both drafted in the 1st round of their respective drafts. However, a big difference between O’Neal and Springs – both burners in their prime – is their size. At 5′ 10” 195, O’Neal has never been able to make-up for loosing a step over the years with physicality. Springs on the other hand has a reputation for physical play and his frame – 6′ 0” 207 caters to it. The Eagles even wanted to use him as a safety (reports Adam Schefter), which may have led him to choosing the Patriots, where he’ll start as a corner – assuming he stays healthy.
  2. He’ll be a good opposite corner, to team with Ellis Hobbs. Springs likely still runs a faster 40 than Hobbs (Springs ran a 4.35 many moons ago, while Hobbs was clocked at 4.55 at his combine), but more importantly – as I mentioned above – he’s physical. Hobbs may dance-the-dance but he doesn’t walk-the-walk when it comes to covering big wideouts. He’s 5’9” 195 and he plays even smaller at times. Having Springs on the other side will take the pressure of Hobbs, in-terms of covering the other team’s best receiver, and he’ll be able to avoid covering big playmakers – a la Plaxico Burris.
  3. Springs is in the Belichick mold (check out this story from when he was drafted in 97). Springs was a two-time Academic All-American at Ohio State. His dad played in the NFL for six years. When he left Ohio State early to become the 3rd pick in the 1997 draft, he didn’t just hold a press conference, he distributed a personally-written letter. The one off-the-field cloud for Springs was a 4-game suspension in 2001 for testing positive to anabolic steroids. However, he matured quickly after that and showed a competitive fire.
  4. He finished last year strong. After tearing his calf in the beginning of last year, and missing 7 games, Springs came back to start the last four- finishing with 1 INT and 36 tackles. The guy is due to have a healthy year after battling nagging injuries in 03, 05, 06 and 08. In 2007, the last time he played a full year in good health, Springs recorded 4 INT’s and 57 tackles (video above highlights that). If you listen to enough Redskins’ fans, you realize that when healthy, they acknowledge he was still their best cover corner. Which is saying something, playing opposite Fred Smoot.

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2 Responses to “4 Reasons I Love the Patriots Signing of Shawn Springs”

  1. Tom says:

    What happened to Leigh Bodden? I thought he had a little more upside than Springs.

  2. Kyle says:

    Hey Tom – You’re probably right as far as upside and potential. He’s 27 and has started almost every game the last two years. He’s still out there as a free agent, but I think Springs may be a bit hungrier to win – knowing he only has a few years left. In addition, I should have added that we have young corners in Whilhite and Wheatley that showed potential last year and could be good long-term options. An older veteran seems to make more sense – or at least it did for the Pats.

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