Defensive Backs: Safeties & Cornerbacks
There is no denying that the New England Patriots have an aging secondary unit that is on the edge of retirement. In preparation for that, the Patriots have consecutively drafted defensive backs over the last three years. But as always, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are going to be the starting safeties again this year.
The Patriots used their top draft choice on a very similar player to Chung in taking Kyle Dugger.
Dugger is versatile, intelligent, and a player that the Patriots were targeting all year. He can be a weapon in the return game and on special teams, and he has the potential to be the next franchise defensive back for the Patriots. He can also play cornerback and provide added depth there as well.
The Patriots have a solid cornerback unit that has plenty of depth to go along with it. The group is led by the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore, with veteran Jason McCourty playing on the other side of him. Last year’s second-round draft pick, Joejuan Williams, and 2018 undrafted rookie free agent, J.C. Jackson, are capable of stepping in and playing when need be and are considered to be highly rated corners in Bill Belichick’s book.
Jonathan Jones and Justin Bethel are going to be active on special teams, but are also worthy of stepping up and playing cornerback given the right situation. Jones, Bethel, and now Dugger are all going to find themselves playing cornerback in certain packages and situations.