New England Patriots: 6 Players who will make the Pro Bowl in 2017
Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler
Four different Patriots cornerbacks have been voted to the Pro Bowl since 2010. Malcolm Butler was selected in 2015, followed by Darrelle Revis in 2014, Aqib Talib in 2013, and Devin McCourty in 2010.
This season, two of New England’s corners look capable of earning an invite. In free agency, the Patriots created an elite cornerback duo when they signed Stephon Gilmore to pair with Malcolm Butler. The two corners will join Pro Bowl free safety Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung to create one of the league’s best secondaries.
Gilmore earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2016 with five interceptions, 48 tackles, and twelve passes defended. Butler, a Pro Bowler in 2015, finished the season with four picks, 63 tackles, sixteen passes defended, and a forced fumble.
Given New England’s opponents in 2017, the choice to sign Gilmore is reminiscent of 2014. At 6-foot-1, he joins Eric Rowe as the team’s tallest cornerback. Gilmore’s height will be key when matched-up with tall wide receivers like Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin. In contrast, Butler will be tasked with covering smaller, quicker receivers like DeSean Jackson.
In Week 12 of the 2014 season, against the Detroit Lions, New England used 6-foot-4 Brandon Browner to cover 6-foot-5 Calvin Johnson while Revis stuck to Golden Tate. A strategy the team should consider using with Gilmore and Butler.
2017 wouldn’t be the first time two cornerbacks from the same team were voted to the Pro Bowl. Denver’s Aqib Talib and Chris Harris were both selected in 2016, along with Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie in 2014.
More from Musket Fire
- Patriots get steal of the night with perfect first round pick
- What trading Mac Jones during the draft can do for the Patriots
- Best and worst draft picks during the Bill Belichick era
- Early round Patriots draft picks you’ll hate now, love later
- Musket Fire Roundup: Our own final predictions for round 1
New England’s got two highly talented cornerbacks who’ll eliminate their opponent’s biggest threats. If Gilmore and Butler can bring out the best in each other’s game, there’s no doubt they’ll be selected to the Pro Bowl in 2017.