Training camp preview: Safety

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Patrick Chung had 62 tackles and a sack in eight games last season. (Associated Press)

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

Position: Safety
Current number of players: 8
Four-year average at cut to 53 players: 4.0
Last season at 53: 4

Locks (3): Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson

Near locks (0)

Battling (4): Josh Barrett, James Ihedigbo, Nate Ebner, Sergio Brown

Longshots (1): Ross Ventrone

53-man prediction
On the team (5):
Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Josh Barrett, James Ihedigbo
Cut (3): Nate Ebner, Sergio Brown, Ross Ventrone

Parting thought
I think this is where the Patriots will use the extra roster spot when all is said and done. If they keep fewer linebackers, the Patriots will need to make up for the special teams bodies at safety where they can run and tackle. I think Barrett will open some eyes, but if he struggles in space again he’s gone. Not crazy about Ihedigbo – he’s serviceable but I’d rather get younger and more athletic. The Patriots drafted Ebner for special teams, and they still really like Brown on coverage units – he really improved there last year. Can either of those two guys grab a spot from Barrett or Ihedigbo? I doubt it, but that’s a big question that will need to be answered.