The New England Patriots are fresh off another Super Bowl victory, but it appears they will sport a very different look on the field as they mount their title defense in 2015. The team locked up safety Devin McCourty, but it declined Darrelle Revis' option, and on Tuesday Revis agreed to terms with the New York Jets.
Bill Belichick hasn't been shy about spending a first-round pick on a potential starter defense, and that could once again be the case this year. Here are five cornerbacks who could be viable options for the Patriots in the draft to replace Revis:
It would be quite a coup for the Patriots if a talent like Peters fell to them at the end of the first round but it remains a possibility due to the nature of a deep draft at some positions combined with Peters' off-the-field issues that could scare off some clubs. He could step in early and based on his ability to press opposing receivers no matter their size, might be a perfect fit for Belichick's defensive philosophy in the secondary. Don't rule out a trade up if the team feels the risk is worth the reward.
Johnson is widely viewed as the fourth-best corner in the draft, and he's projected to be selected right around where the Patriots will first pick, either at end of the first round or in the early second round if they drop back. He's not the biggest prospect out there, but he's got the right frame for the job and really developed during his time with the Demon Deacons. Given his athleticism, he's just scratching the surface and could infuse some youth into the New England secondary while playing early in the slot.
Jones might not be able to form his own "island" in the Patriots scheme like Revis did at times against the opposing No. 1 receiver, but he does have the instincts to play with a savvy unit in zone coverage. Jones tested off the charts at the NFL Scouting Combine, including a world record in the broad jump, but he's got the ability to quickly beef up the right secondary and should be available in the second round.
Belichick would have to love helping mold a former college basketball player, but Rollins has some solid film during his one year of football and turned himself into a legitimate Day 2 prospect. He's got great quickness and is surprisingly physical, two traits the Patriots are looking for at corner.
Darby would have to assure the Patriots he can be physical enough with wide receivers without drawing too many flags, but he could be a great cover man who could also play in nickel and dime packages. His terrific speed and quickness are intriguing, and he could be an asset for the Pats, given some of the speedy wideouts in the AFC East.