With some down time before training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the cornerbacks.
Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams
Jonathan Jones, Keion Crossen, Duke Dawson
Ken Webster (rookie), D'Angelo Ross (rookie)
At this time a year ago, Jackson was an undrafted rookie viewed as a long-shot to make the roster. Not only did he defy those odds, he became a regular contributor and even a starter opposite No. 1 cornerback Gilmore. This summer, he enters training camp as a virtual lock to retain his spot on the roster, as is second-round draft choice Williams. McCourty, the twin brother of safety Devin, is another player who started at times last season and should be safe after re-signing this offseason, but he can't afford to rest on his laurels.
After those four, there are five men battling for two, maybe three, open cornerback jobs.
A second-round pick in 2018, Dawson was injured for most of his rookie year, but was brought back from IR and ended the season on the active roster (although he was inactive for every game). He should be in a stiff competition for the third cornerback duties with fellow 2018 rookie Crossen and returning veteran Jones.
Webster, another 2019 draft choice, and undrafted Ross need to capture some of what Jackson did a year ago in order to have a chance at sticking around.