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Patriots Rookie Safety Jordan Richards is the Next Man Up

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Bill Belichick spoke about the status of his rookie second round pick.

It seems like every season features New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick falling in love with an over-drafted safety.

It's Tavon Wilson, who could very well have gone undrafted. Wilson stood out well as a rookie, before repeating mistakes against the Seahawks sent him to purgatory for the rest of his time with the team.

It's Duron Harmon, who was expected to be a late round pick. The Rutgers graduate has gradually become one of the Patriots most reliable defensive backs.

It's Jordan Richards, who was another late round prospect. After standing out earlier in the season, Richards has been one of the few healthy scratches the Patriots have been able to afford all season.

Has Richards done something wrong? Is Belichick putting him in the dog house? Is he another wasted pick?

Not necessarily.

"If we could have probably dressed one more player it would have been him in both those games," Belichick said about Richards being a healthy scratch. "Like to get him in the game, like to get him there, but we've had some situations at other positions that have unfortunately affected him, but nothing that he has done.

"I think he has really done a good job for us both defensively and in the kicking game. We just have to see how things work out, but no problem at all with him playing. We have a lot of confidence in him and I think he's making great progress."

With the injury to cornerback Justin Coleman, the Patriots have needed safeties they can rely on to step up as cornerbacks and that has led Tavon Wilson to make his way back on to the depth chart. From a sheer positional standpoint, Richards and Wilson flip as the dime back in the secondary, but Wilson is regarded as the better coverage player. Richards is probably a little better in the middle of the field.

Belichick isn't done with Richards yet.

"I think it'd be better if he was playing," Belichick explained about hoping to put Richards back on the field. "It'd be better for him and hopefully we can get to that point, but again we have good depth at that position. I mean look, everybody learns something every day, but I'd like for him to be able to play more if the circumstances could work out."

With Coleman looking to return from his wrist injury, it's likely that Richards will be plugged back into the line-up in the near future.