Patriots Training Camp Preview: Safety
The New England Patriots finally found an answer at safety in 2013 in Devin McCourty, after years of instability and inconsistency at the position. McCourty became just the third player to be named an All Pro at two different positions.
But with the release of Steve Gregory, McCourty will have a new starter next to him in 2014, with second-year player Duron Harmon the favorite to land the role.
But how do the rest of the safeties match up should injuries strike? Here’s our final training camp positional preview with the safeties.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Cornerback
No other position got the makeover that cornerback did for the New England Patriots this offseason. Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner headlines the 2014 free agent class and instantly give the Pats their best secondary since the dynasty years.
But how will the trickle down effect play out for talented young corners like Logan Ryan and Alfonzo Dennard? And where does Kyle Arrington fit in?
Our training camp preview series continues with a look at a reloaded cornerback group.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Linebacker
The Patriots lost two linebackers this offseason - Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher, and though they didn’t make a splashy addition to replace them this offseason, they still have a promising starting trio remaining. The headline is that defensive signal caller Jerod Mayo returns from a pectoral tear that ended his 2013 season early.
But the depth behind Mayo, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins is still largely an unknown. With a collection of rookie and veteran free agents, the Pats could find themselves with some new faces at the linebacker position making an impact.
Here’s our preview of the linebackers.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Defensive End
The Patriots defensive end group starts and almost ends with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. The two combined to play the most snaps by two defensive ends in the NFL.
Behind them the depth is either coming off injury or largely unproven. In a league where your defense lives or dies by their pass rush, do the Pats have enough horses to control the edges for five-plus months?
Here’s our take on the defensive end group.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Defensive Tackle
There were some major headlines this offseason for the Patriots at the defensive tackle position. The first was Vince Wilfork restructuring his contract after a somewhat acrimonious beginning in February.
Tommy Kelly did the same and, along with the first-round selection of the explosive Dominique Easley in the first round of the draft, the Pats have some promise in the front middle of their front seven.
The Pats still have some questions at the position, but if everyone is healthy it might just be one of the deepest and most talented spots on the roster.
Here’s our defensive tackle preview.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Tight End
With Rob Gronkowski ending the 2013 season on IR once again, most prognosticators figured the Pats would make a move on a tight end, either in free agency, the draft, or both this offseason.
The Pats re-signed Michael Hoomanawanui, but didn’t spend a single draft pick at the position, when most mocks gave them one of Jace Amaro, Troy Niklas, CJ Fiedorowicz or Austin Seferian Jenkins.
The Pats did kick the tires on a few of the injured free agent tight ends but never made a move. What can we expect to see from a lighter-than-expected tight end group this season?
Here’s our preview of a sparse tight end group.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line
The offensive line has long been a point of pride for the New England Patriots. But recent years have brought transition, and they will be further put to the test with this offseason’s departure of legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
The Pats were able to reinforce their line in the draft this year, and with the return of Sebastian Vollmer, the Pats should once again be able to give Tom Brady top-notch protection.
Here’s our preview of the offensive line.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Wide Receiver
2013 was a year of transition at the Wide Receiver position for the Patriots. They weathered injuries to almost every receiver, save Julian Edelman, who came through as a breakout go-to star of the offense.
Things should be better for the Pats’ aerial assault in 2014, especially if they can stay healthy. With a year of development under their belt, the Pats collection of second-year pass catchers must be counted on to take significant steps forward.
Here’s our preview of the receivers.
Patriots Training Camp Preview: Running Backs
Running back is one of the most intriguing positions on the New England Patriots’ roster this training camp. The headline of the offseason was the loss of breakout player LeGarrette Blount, but the Pats didn’t make a veteran addition to replace Blount, leaving the spotlight on fourth-year veterans Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, both of whom enter contract years.
With a diverse set of rookies also on the roster, this could be one of the most competitive position battles in training camp.
Our Training Camp Preview series continues with a look at the running backs.