Earlier today, three veteran Safeties hit the Free Agent market. The Indianapolis Colts released oft-injured Strong Safety Bob Sanders, the St. Louis Rams let go their former Franchise Free Safety O.J.Atogwe and the Houston Texans cut Free Safety Eugene Wilson. Unlike most unrestricted free agents, they don't have to wait for a new CBA to sign elsewhere. They are all immediately available by virtue of their teams releasing their rights. By the time I was ready to post this, I noticed Sayre had put up a piece on Bob Sanders, so I edited that part out. Let's look at the other two and discuss how they would fit in a Bronco uniform.
Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe is 5' 11", 205 lbs, Age: 29 and in his 6th year. He tested the Free Agent market last offseason and still re-signed with the Rams. However, since an $8M roster bonus was coming due on the 21st and given the uncertain CBA situation, St. Louis opted to release O.J. and give up all rights to him.
Atogwe is a real ball-hawk who's a constant threat for pick-offs, but is also very productive as a tackler. He makes good decisions in deep zone coverage and breaks up a lot of plays over the middle with his speed and aggressiveness. He has great instincts, hits hard and is a willing blitzer. At 5' 11" he's a bit undersized and can struggle against bigger wideouts in man-to-man situations. His durability is a minor issue (a dislocated right shoulder in December of 2009 put him on injured reserve). O.J. is considered an excellent free safety.
Eugene Wilson is 5' 10", 196 lbs, Age: 30 and in his 8th year. He made $3.56 million in 2010. Eugene had a mediocre 2010 season. He started 13 games but didn't contribute to a single turnover. Pro Football Focus graded him out as the 3rd worst safety in the NFL among 85 playing-time qualifiers last year. Wilson is a solid coverage man. He breaks well on the ball and has good play recognition. He also tracks the ball in the air and has decent hands. Eugen is a great leaper and good overall athlete who turns well and has some quickness and burst. His short stature is a detriment and he's not big or exceptionally fast. An average tackler who lacks catch-up speed and isn't able to handle top wideouts on slant routes in coverage. Wilson is considered a solid starter and he has 2 Super Bowl Rings as a member of the New England Patriots.
Out of the three players, I think Atogwe would fit the best in Orange and Blue. He is healthier than Darcel McBath and younger and faster than Brian Dawkins. Of course this is merely a talking point. What do you think MHR?