New England Patriots: Secondary ranked well by Pro Football Focus
By Nick Ziegler
Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 secondaries heading into the regular season. Where did the New England Patriots rank?
The secondary for the New England Patriots will certainly be something that everyone keeps their eyes on in 2018. Despite having a ton of talent in the secondary in 2017, the unit struggled a bit as a whole before really coming on after the first quarter of the season.
However, the unit was once again exposed in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles. Nick Foles was able to have a much better game than anyone could have anticipated, and the benching of Malcolm Butler was certainly noticed.
While Stephon Gilmore played well in the game, the other cornerbacks for the Patriots were exposed. This offseason, Butler signed with the Tennessee Titans, as it was clear he wouldn’t be back after being benched in the biggest game of the season. Losing Butler is clearly a loss for the Patriots, as he emerged as a solid cornerback for them since his heroic interception against the Seattle Seahawks.
Recently, Pro Football Focus ranked all of the secondaries in the league for the start of the 2018 season. For the Patriots, they came in ranked at a respectable 13th.
Despite the loss of Butler, the Patriots still have a strong secondary on paper. With Gilmore as their No.1 cornerback, the Patriots do have a lockdown player. At safety, the Patriots are also strong with the trio of Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, and Patrick Chung.
However, where things get interesting for the Patriots is at cornerback behind Gilmore. Jason McCourty is expected to be the starter opposite Gilmore, as he was their big acquisition to replace Butler.
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After McCourty, things are very up in the air for the Patriots, as they will be hoping for some of their young cornerbacks to step up and get better. Even though the unit isn’t as good this year without Butler, they should still be a top half of the league secondary when the season is over.