A lot will be determined on July 31. Alfonzo Dennard will be back in a Nebraska courthouse for a probation hearing following his arrest on suspicion of DUI. While the team doesn’t plan to cut the cornerback, he faces possible jail time for violating his probation, which he was placed on after his felony conviction for assault on a police officer in Lincoln, Neb. (He still has to serve 30 days in jail in 2014 for the incident.) He also faces the possibility of suspension from the league.
With all of that hanging over his head, the Patriots may once again have to fill a hole at right cornerback. While Kyle Arrington has started at the position in the past, the team prefers to use him in the slot as its “star” corner, which is basically a starter’s position in the secondary. He could still start at right corner and shift to the slot in nickel situations, with any number of players moving up the depth chart.
Ras-I Dowling has also started at cornerback for the Patriots. He even competed with Arrington for the starting right cornerback spot last season, losing in that bout. But as with all things Dowling related, it all comes back to his ability to stay healthy. In his first two seasons with the Patriots, he’s played only nine games.
Also available to compete is draft pick Logan Ryan (5-11, 195), who was projected as a solid cornerback option out of Rutgers. The team’s other rookie cornerbacks, Stephon Morris and Brandon Jones, are long shots.