New England Patriots: Top Four Positional Battles To Watch

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Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (21) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Cornerback

Sometimes position battles come about because there is too much talent at one spot, and other times, it is because there isn’t enough talent at that one spot. In this case, it is the latter, as in one swift offseason, the Patriots have gone from having the best group of cornerbacks in the league, to one of the worst.

Gone are Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington, and in their place is Bradley Fletcher, Malcolm Butler, and Logan Ryan. Now, I like the talent of all of these players, but there is no getting around the fact that there is a huge talent drop-off from the 2014 group, to the 2015 group. Fletcher was a solid cover corner until he completely fell apart last season, Logan Ryan had a good rookie season before falling off last year, and we have our Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler, who I truly believe will develop into a very good corner over the next couple of years.

The Patriots also have Robert McClain on the depth chart, and while he probably won’t be competing for starter minutes, the Pats do like him as a slot guy, so expect McClain to take some snaps on the inside next season. The most interesting battle to me will be between Ryan and Fletcher on the outside. The Patriots absolutely love Butler, so barring any injuries, he should be a starter, but it will be fun to see who wins between Fletcher and Ryan for the other starting job.

Next: The Tight Ends