A position-by-position look on the Patriots heading into training camp. This position: Defensive secondary.
Comings: S Steve Gregory (FA, Chargers), CB Alfonzo Dennard (7th rounder), CB Marquice Cole (FA, Jets), S Tavon Wilson (2nd rounder), S Nate Ebner (6th rounder), CB Will Allen (FA, Dolphins)
Goings: CB Nate Jones, CB Antwaun Molden
Something To Prove: Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, Patrick Chung, Josh Barrett, Dennard, Gregory, Marquice Cole, Sergio Brown
Nothing To Lose: Sterling Moore, Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo, Ebner, Will Allen, Malcolm Williams, Ross Ventrone, Tavon Wilson.
Summary: There is talent at the back of the Patriots defense. Can it play with confidence and controlled aggression? That's been the problem. Start at corner, where Devin McCourty played scared and lost his confidence in 2011, undoing all the good he'd done in 2010 as a rookie. Then there's injury-plagued second-year man Ras-I Dowling, whose injury history is becoming a concern at the other corner. Safety Patrick Chung plays with aggression, but his smallish size and tendency to get dinged will have to be overcome for him to take the step toward becoming a Pro Bowler. Corner Kyle Arrington and safety Sterling Moore play with more stones than anyone at the back end and that's why they're fun to watch. Dennard, who plummeted to the the seventh round because of a pre-draft arrest, could hit the ground running as a corner with something to prove. Safety Steve Gregory is a free agent from the Chargers who is being paid starter's money. Barrett, Brown and Cole are on the bubble. Ihedigbo is a known quantity and a pro. Allen's on his last roundup. Ihedigbo will likely find a role. Ebner's a project. And Wilson will be groomed to play next to Chung.