cstjohn raised an interesting question in the Pass Rusher thread - I thought we could break it out and have a separate discussion. Who should be the slot corner? The Patriots are in the nickel a lot. The base 3-4 was used less than half the time in 2010. Let's assume the Patriots don't add any significant defensive (not special teams) corners in free agency. In the primary nickel defense, who would be the slot corner? Roster: Devin McCourty - 5-11 193, 4.48 Leigh Bodden - 6-1 193 Ras-I Dowling - 6-1 198, 4.39 Kyle Arrington - 5-9 192 Darius Butler - 5-10 183, 4.38 Jonathan Wilhite - 5-9 187, 4.38 Malcolm Williams - 5-10 204, 4.47 Most agree that McCourty and Bodden are the two starters. Dowling is the next second-round pick, and we all hope he is a future starter. With luck, Dowling will be the third-best corner on the roster in 2011. But who would be the third corner, the slot coverage corner? I think the three candidates are Arrington, Butler, and Wilhite, not Dowling. Dowling has no college experience inside - he was a primary corner playing outside. Dowling is a tall corner, better at shadowing the deep receiver than squirming after a shifty slot receiver. Arrington, Butler, and Wilhite are all 3-4" shorter, lighter, shiftier. They are the more classic slot corner types. Dowling would focus on the back-up outside corner role, potentially replacing Bodden or McCourty when needed or due to injury. I would focus him on learning that role, to be available when needed. Especially with a dramatically reduced offseason and training camp, I would hesitate to offer him a new role. Arrington really suprised, beating out Butler, Wilhite, and Wheatley at corner last season. I'd assume he has the first shot at the slot. Butler really disappointed in his second season. He and Wilhite are really toss-ups, and are probably competing for the final roster spot. Which is not a bad situation - both are young, both have started some games, both have a couple seasons' experience in the system. So I'll project Arrington. Other views?