Just as was the case in 2019, the New England Patriots have an embarrassment of riches in their defensive secondary in 2020.
The New England Patriots have the best kind of problem this season — and it’s a problem they also had last season too.
In 2019, their highest defensive draft pick — cornerback Joejuan Williams — barely saw the field, and yet it had nothing to do with his talent or grasp of the New England defense. Rather, it had everything to do with an absolutely loaded depth chart above him.
Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones. These are some of the best cornerbacks in the entire NFL today, and they’re all on the same team.
Gilmore is arguably the best cornerback in the league bar-none. McCourty would be the No. 1 corner on most of the teams around the NFL right now, which makes him a sensational value as Gilmore’s running mate and the Robin to Gilly’s Batman.
Jackson and Jones may very well be the most underrated players in the pros. They’re certainly the most underrated players on the Patriots — both have statistically been exceptional in their short careers thus far, and they’re only getting better.
Add Williams to the mix, and you can understand why there was a logjam when it came to playing time last year. That “problem” should carry over into 2020, as all five of these players are coming back again.
At least Justin Bethel, a fellow CB, can get tons of snaps on special teams with New England. D’Angelo Ross and Lenzy Pipkins, two other young CBs on the roster, may barely get much action outside of practice this year.
The Patriots’ safeties are just as deep and talented as their cornerbacks this year
The Patriots’ depth chart is similarly stacked when it comes to safeties.
Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are both back on new deals. Terrence Brooks, a new addition last season, is set to return this year. Duron Harmon is gone, but ex-Charger Adrian Phillips has been added to replace him.
If that weren’t all enough, New England used their top draft pick overall this past April on Kyle Dugger. And to even further complicate things, Bill Belichick has reportedly asked Williams, a natural cornerback, to learn how to play safety this offseason in the hopes of getting him more versatile and thus more potential playing time.
How are all of these bodies going to find their way to the field? It’s truly a treasure trove of talent in the New England secondary, with an excellent balance of savvy experience and youthful potential.
This is Belichick’s “problem” to solve in 2020.
And make no mistake — it’s a problem that 31 other teams in the NFL would love to have right now.