A lot has been made about the Patriots’ lack of depth at certain positions, and deservedly so. But let’s not forget just how strong New England is in other areas.
The Patriots own arguably the deepest collection of running backs in the league, and their already strong linebacking corps will be taken to the next level if Jamie Collins can return to form. It’s safe to say New England’s biggest strength, however, is its defensive backfield.
Stephon Gilmore arguably is the NFL’s best cornerback at present, and safety Devin McCourty ranks among the league’s most underrated players. The Patriots’ crew of DBs doesn’t really feature any household names outside of those two, but NFL.com’s Marc Sessler is focusing on results more than star power as he tabs the Patriots as owners of the best secondary.
“The Ravens, Bears, Jags and Saints might look better on paper, but I’m picking a pack of pass defenders who — in the last real action we witnessed — held Sean McVay’s high-flying Rams to three points on the game’s biggest stage,” Sessler writes. “New England wins the prize IRL (in real life). Stephon Gilmore is a star, and J.C. Jackson is ready to make the leap. And twins? … Jason and Devin McCourty continue to roll, while Patrick Chung is a loyal foot soldier. Biggest names? No way, but the untouched coaching of Bill Belichick puts this less-flashy group over the edge. Got issues? Come talk to me in February.”
Tough to argue with that.
The Patriots have gone as far as Tom Brady will take them for the better portion of the past two decades. But given how things are taking shape, a vaunted defense could pave the way for another deep playoff run for New England in 2019.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images