In the lead-up to 2020 training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the cornerbacks.
Locks: Stephon Gilmore; J.C. Jackson; Jonathan Jones; Joejuan Williams
Bubble: Jason McCourty
In the Mix: D'Angelo Ross; Myles Bryant (undrafted rookie)
ANALYSIS: Coming off his 2019 Defensive Player of the Year honor, Gilmore has cemented himself as the league's best cornerback. Meanwhile, Jackson has developed from an undrafted rookie into a solid No. 2-caliber player and continues to ascend. Jones is both the fastest corner on the team and a valuable special teams contributor. He's not going anywhere. Neither is Williams, who's only in his second season and hasn't quite yet had the chance to see significant playing time on defense.
Here's where it gets tricky for someone like Jason McCourty, the twin brother of safety Devin, who's unquestionably one of the most reliable veterans on defense. Can he continue to push Jackson for playing time opposite Gilmore? Or will one of the younger players in the mix – Ross or Bryant, perhaps – emerge to supplant him for what's likely a fifth and final cornerback slot? In my estimation, McCourty hangs on for another season, but at this point, it's no guarantee.