The New England Patriots still have a few position groups to worry about with the NFL draft just a few weeks away.
Cornerback, however, is not one of them.
New England is set to feature one of the deepest and most talented secondaries in the league in the upcoming season. The depth chart is headlined, of course, by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who became just the sixth defensive back to ever win the award. Playing opposite Gilmore will be Jason McCourty, whose option was picked up by the Patriots ahead of the start of the new league year.
In terms of the NFL’s best cornerback duos, NFL analyst Bucky Brooks pegs Gilmore and McCourty at No. 2, only behind the Baltimore Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters.
“Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, teams with McCourty to give the Patriots a formidable tandem,” Brooks wrote for NFL.com “The duo excels at snuffing out WR1s in the Patriots’ man-heavy scheme without having to deviate from their straightforward approach. Gilmore routinely takes on the challenge of shadowing the opponent’s most dangerous threat, while McCourty blankets the sidekick on the opposite side of the field. Each guy has thrived in his respective role, which is why the Patriots’ stifling pass defense was the talk of the town for much of last season.”
If Brooks were to broaden the scope to trios, one has to imagine the Patriots would be firmly atop the list. Former undrafted free agent J.C. Jackson, who’s set to enter his third season in Foxboro, is on a fast track stardom.