Barring an injury, Darrelle Revis will be one of the two—or three if you count the nickel defense as the new base defense in the NFL—starting cornerbacks for the New England Patriots. His opposite number remains to be seen.
Brandon Browner could be the answer after his four-game suspension has been served, but Logan Ryan and Alfonzo Dennard will have to do until then. Dennard has been slowed by injuries so far in camp, while Ryan didn't look up to his rookie form against the Washington Redskins.
One possibility that would have shocked many Patriots fans back in May is Malcolm Butler, who has been up for every challenge this offseason.
Doug Kyed from NESN.com had a good read on his limitations and successes:
Butler ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash with a 7.20-second three-cone, 4.27-second short shuttle, 9-foot-10 broad jump and 33.5-inch vertical leap. NFL teams typically want to see a 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range, a sub-7-second three-cone, a short shuttle near four seconds, a broad jump over 10 feet and at least a 35-inch vertical leap.
Butler can’t burn up a track or jump out of gym, but he’s proven to be a playmaker on the practice field and in the Patriots’ first preseason game, when he allowed just two receptions on seven targets from Washington Redskins quarterbacks.
Butler will likely be on the roster bubble come September, but his play so far has certainly turned some heads.