The Baltimore Ravens continued their house cleaning today by releasing veteran safety Bernard Pollard. He had spent the last two seasons with the Ravens and was a vital part of the team’s success during each playoff run.
Pollard was a second round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2006 draft. In fact, he was chosen just two spots after the Green Bay Packers selected receiver Greg Jennings. Pollard played three seasons with the Chiefs before joining the Houston Texans for two years and then on to Baltimore.
In his seven seasons, Pollard has seen a lot of quality football and has shown no signs of diminishing skills yet. He was a veteran of the Ravens defense and played alongside of some of the better defenders in the NFL in that of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs. He knows how to win and he’s a proven leader.
Pollard is a player the Packers should take a look at. With Green Bay picking 26th in the first round, it’s unlikely that they will find a starting caliber safety in this year’s draft. The incumbents opposite Morgan Burnett are M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian and neither are without some doubts that they can be effective in a starting role. When Charles Woodson was hurt last season, both M.D. and McMillian had to platoon at safety as neither stepped up and took hold of the starting position. Replacing Woodson is tough. Replacing him with either of these two young players is asking the impossible. Pollard, at a reasonable price tag, could be a solution and a very effective one for the Packers.
Pollard is 28 and won’t turn 29 until the latter part of this next season but he is nearing that 30 year old mark. While questions about Jennings’ age have been aplenty (he will turn 30 this upcoming season), we must remember that he is a wide receiver. There is plenty of valid evidence that receivers’ skills diminish after age 30. Safety is another story altogether.
We need look no further than Green Bay’s own history to find some examples of safeties who played some of their best football after age 30: LeRoy Butler, Eugene Robinson, Charles Woodson and Darren Sharper (although he was released prior to 30, he did have some productive years with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints).