CORNERBACKS: Questions after Talib

CORNERBACKS: Questions after Talib
July 11, 2013, 11:45 am
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Each day until the start of training camp Mary Paoletti will preview a position on the Patriots. Yesterday, she previewed defensive ends. Today it's cornerbacks. Check back in tomorrow for her look at Patriots safeties.

Aqib Talib - 6th season
Alfonzo Dennard - 2nd season
Kyle Arrington - 5th season
Ras-I Dowling - 3rd season
Marquice Cole - 5th season
Logan Ryan - Rookie
Brandon Jones - Rookie
Stephon Morris - Rookie
News of note: Will Alfonzo Dennard be returning? The defensive back was recently arrested in his home state of Nebraska for suspicion of driving under the influence. He's due in court July 31. If it's found he violated probation (handed down last April after conviction for assaulting a police officer), then a judge could toss Dennard in jail. 
On a more positive note, New England did manage to beat out Aqib Talib's other free-agency suitors and retain their top cornerback for another year. Slot corner Kyle Arrington and slot backup and special teams gunner Marquice Cole are also back for more. And, who knows? Maybe this is the year Ras-I Dowling, a second-round pick in 2011, will stay healthy and get a full season under his belt. 
Yeah. Couple of question marks in this group. 
The Patriots did dig for depth in and around the 2013 draft. Logan Ryan, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound Rutgers product, was selected in the third round. Brandon Jones (6-0, 190) and Stephon Morris (5-8, 190) were scooped up as rookie free agents. 
Ryan may be under pressure to contribute immediately if Dennard is indeed thrown in the clink. Perhaps that's not a bad thing, as he may be tapped to eventually replace Talib, who could seek a long-term deal elsewhere if he has another solid season. 
Jones and Morris should end up on the practice squad. Inexperienced bodies are better than none.