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Training camp preview: Cornerback

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 19, 2012 07:00 AM

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Devin McCourty had 87 tackles and two interceptions in 2011, his second season in the NFL. In his rookie season, he had seven interceptions. (Robert E. Klein/For the Globe)

Greg A. Bedard provides a status report on the Patriots' defensive position groups heading into the start of training camp on July 26.

Position: Cornerback
Current number of players: 8
Four-year average at cut to 53 players: 5.5
Last season at 53: 6

With the passing game out of control in the NFL, look for this position to continue to take up more spots. Those extra spots will go to players with cornerback/safety versatility.

Locks (3): Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling

Near locks (0)

Battling (4): Sterling Moore, Alfonzo Dennard, Will Allen, Marquice Cole

Longshots (1): Malcolm Williams

53-man prediction
On the team (6):
Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore, Alfonzo Dennard, Will Allen
Cut (2): Marquice Cole, Malcolm Williams

Parting thought: This is going to be really interesting. I would not be surprised if the Patriots kept seven players here. The biggest question is what can these guys do on special teams in relationship to their cornerback play. Moore and Allen would seem to have a leg up, but neither is a special teams standout at this point. Dennard, when all is said and done, may be a CB/S tweener and could man both spots. Cole is a special teams star, but is he good enough at corner to merit a spot? Wouldn’t mind keeping all seven myself considering all the problems the Patriots had last season.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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