New England Patriots: Pre-Camp 53-Man Roster Projection
Cornerback – 4
- Malcolm Butler
- Stephon Gilmore
- Eric Rowe
- Jonathan Jones
Behind Pro Bowl corners Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones will enter their second seasons with the Patriots.
Rowe is a well-testing athlete with a long frame built for covering tall wideouts on the perimeter. In Super Bowl LI, he was tasked with guarding 6-foot-3 wide receiver, Julio Jones. Using physical traits to determine matchups could send Butler inside to man the slot against smaller, quicker receivers. Rowe and Gilmore both stand at 6-foot-1, an appropriate size for covering 2017 opponents’ receivers like Tampa Bay’s 6-foot-5 Mike Evans and New Orleans’ 6-foot-3 Michael Thomas.
As for Jones, his 4.33-second 40-yard dash time indicates he has the ability to matchup with speedy receivers like Tyreek Hill and DeSean Jackson.
Safety – 5
- Devin McCourty
- Patrick Chung
- Duron Harmon
- Nate Ebner
- Brandon King
New England does an excellent job utilizing Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon in a three-safety defense. Using McCourty and Harmon as the two high safeties with Chung lined up over the opposing team’s tight end, the Patriots can eliminate vertical threats and shut down tight ends.
Nate Ebner and Brandon King have become solid special teams contributors for New England. They’ll resume taking the field for kickoffs and punts.
Next: Patriots' 53-Man Roster Projection 1.0
Special Teams – 3
- Kicker – Stephen Gostowski
- Punter – Ryan Allen
- Long Snapper – Joe Cardona
Despite having a down season, Stephen Gostowski’s job is safe. Same goes for Ryan Allen and Joe Cardona.