Position Battles: Cornerback
Now its obvious that Stephon Gilmore has the number 1 corner spot locked up. And if he were to lose that spot then I would consider his contract a felony. With the whole Malcolm Butler leaving situation (which we would all love to forget) it seems like there is a bit of a gray area as to who will fall in line on the rest of the roster. Here’s a dive into what might be in store.
Jason McCourty – McCourty seems like the obvious option to play across from Gilmore. He is experienced, and proven himself as a talented corner worthy of being a starter in the NFL. However, if he is anything like his brother, he might have lost the ability to man up 1 on 1 on receivers, and there is too much depth at safety to move him there. He is the perfect size to match up against number 2 and some number 1 receivers, and isn’t quite the build to be a nickelback, so he seems like the best choice for the spot.
Eric Rowe – Now, I’m personally not the biggest fan of Rowe, but he also isn’t Kyle Arrington. There are definitely worse options, and all things considered, Rowe hasn’t been completely terrible. I expect him to be on the team, and he is a good option as a fill in for that number 2 role if injuries start to hinder the team. He has not been a good fit to cover slot receivers, that is his one downfall. He is best suited as a number 2, and if not he should only be in on dime situations.
Jonathan Jones – I have been a huge advocate of Jones since he was an undrafted free agent. He is freakishly fast, and often beats Slater downfield on special teams. I’ve been waiting for his breakout, and he got a good amount of playing time last season to prove it’s his turn. He is the perfect guy to play the nickel spot, where he is small, fast and very quick. He should match up well with even the best slot receivers in the league, and I look forward to seeing him compete for that spot.
Duke Dawson – Dawson is kind of a wild card thrown into this mix. He is the Pats second round draft pick this year from Florida. He definitely has a lot of talent, and also a lot to learn. He has been getting a good amount of reps with the first team across from Gilmore, so it will be interesting to see if he lands himself a starting job at some point this season. He should at least make the week 1 roster in my opinion.
Cyrus Jones – *sighs* oh Cyrus. Unfortunately because of his high draft value I guess he has to be included in this piece. So much talent gone nowhere. One of the few draft picks in recent years that Bill seems to have gone wrong with. He would really have to impress around 95% of the U.S. population to be considered to make this team. Maybe he could make it as a return specialist, but he isn’t all that good at that either so that’s a stretch. Hopefully they can flip him for like a 5th rounder or something instead of just cutting him loose.
Ryan Lewis – This is one more wild card I decided to throw in. He bounced around with the Cardinals last season before landing on the Pats practice squad near the end of the season. He knows the system a little bit now and might impress somebody. He has a lot of NFL genetics with his father and uncle being former NFL players and coaches, so he has a background to back it up. He might just surprise someone as an injury fill in off the practice squad and become the next Asante Samuel.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)