With some down time before training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the cornerbacks.
LOCKS: Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Duke Dawson
BUBBLE: Cyrus Jones, Ryan Lewis, Jomal Wiltz,
LONG SHOTS: Keion Crossen, JC Jackson
BREAKDOWN: With the departure of Malcolm Butler, Gilmore is the undisputed No. 1 corner for the Patriots. Less certain, however, is what the team's cornerback depth chart will look like behind Gilmore when the regular season opens on Sept. 9.
Newcomer Jason McCourty is a front-runner for the job, but his lack of participation in spring practices took many observers by surprise. Veterans Rowe and Jonathan Jones, despite the latter's playoff foot injury, are likely to make the roster, as is second-round rookie Duke Dawson.
Former second-round pick Cyrus Jones is in a battle to remain with the team, especially coming off a serious, season-ending knee injury. Practice squad holdovers Lewis and Wiltz could make surprise year-two jumps. Crossen, a seventh-round draft choice this year, looks more like a long-term project and could wind up on the practice squad. Jackson opened many eyes during the spring and could be this year's training camp sleeper.