Wednesday, September 1, 2010
In AFC East, experience down at the corners
By Tim Graham
When the New England Patriots put veteran Leigh Bodden on season-erasing injured reserve Tuesday, they were forced to deal with likelihood they'll have the NFL's least experienced cornerback tandem in 2010.
Second-year pro Darius Butler and rookie Devin McCourty are the probable starters, a combined five NFL starts between them in a division that includes Brandon Marshall, Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards.
ESPN researcher Keith Hawkins poked around, checked the latest projected depth charts from Ourlads Scouting Services and found the Patriots would have the league's greenest cornerbacks by far.
But the Miami Dolphins have the third-youngest duo. And until Darrelle Revis ends his holdout, the New York Jets will have the fifth youngest.
Here are the youngest cornerback combos projected for opening day with combined seasons, games and starts:
- Butler and McCourty, Patriots: one season, 14 games, five starts (all Butler).
- Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans: one season, 15 games, 12 starts (all Quin).
- Sean Smith and Vontae Davis, Dolphins: two seasons, 32 games, 25 starts.
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler, Arizona Cardinals: three seasons, 45 games, 25 starts.
- Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, Jets: four seasons, 64 games, 39 starts (all Cromartie).
- Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs: four seasons, 63 games, 60 starts.
- Cortland Finnegan and Jason McCourty, Tennessee Titans: five seasons, 76 games, 50 starts.
The other three cornerbacks on the Patriots' roster don't offer much experience either. Jonathan Wilhite has made 12 starts over his three NFL seasons. Terrence Wheatley has one start in two seasons. Kyle Arrington has zero starts in one season.