Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Analysis of Leigh Bodden to IR

By Mike Reiss

With veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden landing on injured reserve (torn rotator cuff), the Patriots lose a veteran presence in the secondary and the player who led the club in passes defended (17) last season.

Bodden, who was the team's most consistent cornerback last season and whose physical style of play was lauded by the coaching staff, was projected to start once again on the right side.

That job is likely to go to 2009 second-round draft choice Darius Butler, while 2010 first-round draft choice Devin McCourty is likely the starter on the left side.

That would give the Patriots one of the youngest starting cornerback tandems in the NFL. Meanwhile, starting safeties Brandon Meriweather (fourth year) and Patrick Chung (second year) are also young.

One potential trickle-down effect from losing Bodden is that 2008 second-round draft choice Terrence Wheatley, who looked to be on the roster bubble, could now stick. Wheatley has had a strong training camp.

Here is the revamped projected cornerback depth chart:

Devin McCourty (rookie)
Darius Butler (2nd year)
Jonathan Wilhite (3rd year)
Kyle Arrington (2nd year)
Terrence Wheatley (3rd year)