Patriots Off-Season Profiles: Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty, and the Secondary
FOXBOROUGH – Few players had a better start to training camp than New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. As one of New England's two Pro Bowl players last season, Gilmore entered into training camp having not allowed a completed pass for the first majority of throws in his direction. As the best player on the Patriots' defense, Gilmore has been turning heads as he seems to be getting even better. And he is leading the league's best secondary along the way.
New England has definitely come a long way from when their secondary was among the league's worst and would allow any quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against them. Now, they are absolutely solid at locking down opposing offenses. Of course, the buck stops with Gilmore, who is entering his third season with the Patriots.
He clinched last year's Super Bowl victory with a clutch interception that was the exclamation point on a stellar year of two interceptions, 20 passes defended, and 45 total tackles. Playing in all 16 games, you just could not throw on Gilmore last season. And he made everyone around him better.
J.C. Jackson is the team's other starting cornerback and he found his way to three interceptions during his rookie campaign. Jason McCourty also performed in a stellar capacity during last season (especially the post-season) and as the backup cornerback, it seems like he is slated to edge out Jonathan Jones in the competition for the final spot in the Patriots' secondary on the roster.
As for the safeties in the secondary, the Patriots have a stellar trio of potential starters, all of whom are among the league's most underrated defenders. Patrick Chung, in his nine years in New England, has been so overlooked. Last year, he racked up 84 tackles in a remarkable effort that unfortunately ended in a post-season injury. Chung is expected to return alongside Duron Harmon and Devin McCourty.
McCourty has been one of the team's top leaders for many seasons now and his 2018 campaign recover two fumbles, intercept one pass, and tackle 82 players.
No other team possesses the depth that the Patriots have on defense, but especially in the secondary. I fully expect the cornerbacks and the safeties to be the strongest aspects of the Patriots roster this season.
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