New England Patriots: Ranking the top defensive starters for 2018

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Devin McCourty
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Devin McCourty /
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3. Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback

Stephon Gilmore had a rough start at the beginning of his Patriots career. The Pro Bowl cornerback hit his stride towards the last quarter of the season in New England.

Gilmore is a tough cover for most wide receivers in the NFL. He has great technique with his ability to jam receivers as well as anticipate their routes with a proven record of being a ball hawk.

He can play man-to-man and zone efficiently but is naturally more comfortable in man coverage. After struggling for some time, Gilmore became more adept to the Patriots system just in time for the playoffs.

The veteran cornerback produced a game-winning play during the AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He deflected the last attempt thrown by Blake Bortles on 4th and 14th to seal the win.

Gilmore made 47 total tackles coupled with two interceptions in his first season. Now that he is more familiar with the system and schemes, look out for Gilmore to have a much more productive season in 2018.