The New England Patriots tried to add depth to the cornerback unit heading into the 2022 NFL season. The team lost J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore in 2021. Head coach Bill Belichick did his best to get good cornerbacks. Gilmore’s departure left a big hole on the roster. It seems like the Patriots have found a good replacement.
Malcolm Butler is here to step in as a replacement. He joined the team after a really long time and NFL experts have high expectations from him. Butler came out of his retirement and decided to spend another season with the team. He is 32, but age has nothing on him.
Butler and Jonathan Jones will join forces to lead the Patriots to a win. Jones has done a really good job on the field and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the third-best slot corner in the league heading into the new season.
“Jones is eyeing a bounce-back season after injuring his shoulder early in 2021,” wrote Anthony Treash. “Before missing most of last season, the seven-year pro was on a two-year run of stout slot coverage play, as his 84.4 coverage grade ranked top-five at the position from 2019 to 2020.
“Jones did a great deal of that work in single coverage and didn’t falter. In those two years combined, his slot coverage grade in one-on-one situations ranked second-best in the league.”
Patriots have backup for their cornerback in 2022
In six games, Jones recorded 20 tackles and an interception.
If Jones and Butler fail to perform in 2021, the Patriots will reach for Marcus Jones and Jack Jones. These two joined the Patriots through the 2022 Draft.
Belichick was expected to get corners in the first round of the draft, but he decided to select an outside lineman. I guess Cole Strange was too good and the Patriots didn’t want to let him go.
Jonathan Jones will have a tough job in the upcoming season. Jackson’s departure makes everything harder. Patriots corners will have to be alert. Let’s see what happens in 2022. This group is really strong and there’s no room for panic.