Last year with a slower Woodson, Harris and Lake in the nickel packages, Starks was totally exposed. He has great speed and was small but he made a lot of dumb mistakes when not surrounded by great talent.
Baxter is young and hungry; not as quick as Starks but still has excellent speed and has much better size which will give him an advantage against taller receivers like Plaxico. I also think Baxter (from what I have seen and heard) is a much smarter football player than Starks. Baxter also seems very much like a character guy and will be much more physical than Starks which crucial with the league's trend toward big wide outs.
I am a huge Rod Woodson fan but it was very obvious he lost a step last year. With Harris we had one of the slowest safety combo's in the league. Reed will add youth, quickness, the ability to hit and get to the ball, and a Ray Lewis type attitude to our secondary. I was a hug fan of his at Miami and when he said he didn't want to hold the two year old Lombardi trophy because the one he wants to hold is the one that he has won, that raised my respect for him even further. Guys we have a major future star here. This guy is the real deal and in about five years we will be talking about him the same way we talk about another later first round pick out of Miami who is the best linebacker in the history of football.
As for Mitchell replacing Harris: again the crucial mistake we made after the Super Bowl year was letting Herring go. We thought Harris could replace him and we lost Herring's ability to cover and to make plays. Mitchell has shown himself to be an excellent special teamer and after three years he has earned the right to start. He is as big a hitter as Harris and is quicker so he should be an improvement at that position.
These are young guys and they will make mistakes but when you throw in a guy like McAllister and a veteran like Trapp you can see that we are seeing the beginning of what should be a terrific secondary.
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