Tavon Wilson remains a wild card

INDIANAPOLIS -- In a piece now posted on ESPN.com (Insider content), former Colts president Bill Polian shares his opinion on the top needs of every team at this time on the NFL calendar.

His view on the Patriots is that it starts at safety. He then puts receiver and cornerback next on the list.

"Despite the Patriots' reputation as a perennial power, there are numerous needs here, with wide receiver and safety appearing the most glaring," Polian writes.

The piece sparked the thought that 2012 second-round draft choice Tavon Wilson remains a wild card in the eyes of many.

Wilson, drafted 48th overall, played 42.5 percent of the defensive snaps last season. Because of that, he received some beneficial on-the-job training, much more than we saw Patrick Chung receive in his rookie season (20.5 percent) back in 2009. The higher playing-time total for Wilson came as a result of filling in for injured starters and playing the "money" linebacker-type role in the dime package. He finished with 48 tackles and four interceptions, although one of his more notable plays came as part of a deep-field coverage breakdown that led to a last-minute loss to the Seahawks on Oct. 14.

Is Wilson a long-term answer at safety?

The answer will be a significant factor on whether the Patriots view the position as a top need, as Polian does. The club returns starters Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory, with Wilson third on the depth chart at this time. McCourty thrived at the position after a midseason position switch, while the coaching staff seems to place a high value on Gregory's intelligence.

The 2013 draft is viewed as deep at safety, and one wonders where Wilson -- who was considered by many a surprise pick by the Patriots last year -- would fall in this year's class.

His development ties directly to whether the Patriots draft another safety this year.