At age 31, the discussion must commence. The discussion revolving around Darrelle Revis to safety, however, should be an exciting one.Think Charles Woodson. For 10 NFL seasons the future Pro Football Hall of Famer was terrorizing quarterbacks from the cornerback position.
In 2008, however, the Green Bay Packers started tinkering with the 32-year old Woodson at the safety position. It led eight more NFL seasons and a 2009 season that saw the stud defensive back win the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, barely edging out a familiar New York face.
That familiar face happened to be Darrelle Revis, the man who flourished on an island unto his own under a coach named Rex.
This was seven seasons ago. Revis was a spry 24-year old youngster.
He’s now a 31-year old grizzled vet who’s dripping with even more football IQ. Yet he simply cannot keep up with the speedsters of the league. One game tape in 2015 when Sammy Watkins or DeAndre Hopkins hit the field would easily prove that point.
The idea of Darrelle Revis moving to safety isn’t a new one. It’s not even a brilliant or original thought. It’s been kicked around the Jets campfire for a at least a year now.
What’s brilliant about it is how realistic it is.
It’s a credit to Revis, as the “move to safety” discussion can only be had with the elite football players. Revis knows this, via Kimberly Martin of Newsday:
Revis: “There’s probably a conversation in the future re: me maybe moving my position, maybe to safety or doing some other things.” (WFAN)
— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) August 4, 2016
Sure, he did reference the “future,” but this is some of the best news the New York Jets organization and their fans can possibly hear.
The reason is simple: Darrelle Revis would make a terrifying NFL safety.
Granted, Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist makeup one of the top safety duos in the league at the moment, but when the free safety spot is eventually opened up, Revis can, and will, enjoy a fantastic second career.
All of the pertinent skills are present for a seamless transition.
As opposed to corners, who need freakish athletic ability, safeties can get by without crazy straight-line speed. They use their hips, their IQ, and all-around awareness much more than corners.
Although Revis has lost a tremendous amount of straight-line speed, his hips are still present. His agility is still top notch. Most importantly, though, his football IQ and awareness will only improve from fantastic to phenomenal.
If those traits were all that were considered every time this classic “corner to safety” move was discussed, there’d be too many of these transitions to count. There’s much more.
How about tackling?
The reason guys like Charles Woodson, Rod Woodson and Ronnie Lott made the transition is because they possessed the all-around defensive back package. They could actually dirty it up in the middle third of the field with the big boys who came their way.
Revis can do the same thing. He’s a fierce tackler who never minds getting his jersey dirty.
When it comes to cornerbacks, what fans remember are those few times they get beat. For example, when Revis was beat badly by Hopkins in Week 11 a season ago, an entire fanbase was up in arms with fear about the great one:
This is the most impossible route to cover one-on-one in the NFL. In zero coverage, squaring off against one of the faster weapons in the league, even elite corners would have trouble stopping this one.
Where Revis is so effective in combating his decrease in speed is using the sideline to his advantage. He brilliantly uses it in a trail technique that very few corners in the history of the game could ever match.
Still, the decrease in production at corner is evident:
Every Cornerback ranked from best to worst this season.
Best: Tyrann Mathieu
Worst: Brandon Browner pic.twitter.com/x3Hy6ac2ZW
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 4, 2016
If put at safety, Revis would never be put in such a situation. Instead, he’d have everything in front of him. He’d be able to dissect the entire play, first reading a tight-end or slot and then using those brilliant hips to make his move.
These are some defensive attributes he would absolutely flourish with. And let’s face it, like previously mentioned, Revis isn’t a guy who’s ever shied away from contact:
We’re not talking about Deion Sanders here. We’re actually talking about much more.
Darrelle Revis isn’t just a cornerback. He’s a complete football player. This is why, when it happens, he’ll dominate at the safety position and enjoy his second career in the NFL.