New England Patriots training camp: 4 standouts after 4 days of practice

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

2. Malcolm Butler

Butler’s heated competition with Edelman will only pay off in the long run. If he’s going against a receiver like Edelman for the duration of Patriots training camp, then he should be prepared to start in Week 1.

Worth noting from the Edelman-Butler rivalry is the fact that Butler is winning his fair share of the battles. And when he does allow a reception to Edelman, Dobson or whoever, it’s very close. Like Rich Hill of PatsPulpit says, don’t sweat too much when you hear about Edelman or Dobson making a play over Butler:

"Don’t worry about the plays by Edelman and Dobson, Butler is definitely the top cornerback on the Patriots depth chart and he continued his strong camp with some more strong play. He’s hypercompetitive."

At this point, it looks like Butler will be matched-up against Antonio Brown in the season opener. At 5-foot-11, Butler actually stands above the 5-foot-10 Brown, and after having the dog days of summer filled with fights against Edelman, he will be good to go against one of the top wideouts in the league on September 10th.

Butler has also been talking trash with Brady, urging the quarterback to throw his way more often. If that’s not a sign of Butler’s growing confidence, I don’t know what is.

It should also be noted how much of a good sport Butler was this spring after Bill Belichick suspended him for three weeks after he was late to the plane. Butler kept himself clear of the NFLPA complaint against Belichick for the suspension, a clear indication that Butler is team-oriented and understood the sentiment behind his coach’s action.

Next: 1. Jabaal Sheard