Around this time last year, there was a pretty serious debate within the Patriots fanbase: Who should they keep, Stephon Gilmore or JC Jackson? Well, now the Patriots find themselves with neither. The once-dominant New England cornerback room is now one of the worst in the league.
Now it’s time for Belichick to find another young, underrated corner to help fill the void that Jackson and Gilmore left. This continues the cycle that JC Jackson, Malcolm Butler, and Logan Ryan went through with the Patriots.
Under Belichick, corners get drafted (or undrafted) late, and make a name for themselves in New England. Then they sign elsewhere in free agency. This time the Patriots could go a different route, and draft a corner early on, and that’s where Andrew Booth comes in…
Andrew Booth Jr is a well-built corner, at 6’0 1/4″ and 200 lbs. His hand size is 9 3/8″, and his long wingspan at 6’4 7/8″. He was voted First Team All-ACC in the 2021 season, after recording 35 total tackles, three interceptions, and five passes deflected.
His biggest attributes are his ability to attack the ball while it’s in the air. Followed by his general physicality, especially in the run game. Although the Patriots don’t need more tacklers, a physical, ball-hawking corner can’t hurt.
Booth also has great spatial awareness in both the pass and run game. He sports an impressive 78.4 PFF grade, which puts him in the top four NCAA cornerbacks. Plus, his one-handed interception against Virginia is one of the best catches I’ve seen in a while.
One of the main issues that scouts saw in Andrew Booth’s game was that his long strides make it harder for him to reach his top speed quickly. He also has trouble changing direction at times and can have slow reactions and recoveries to in-breaking routes.
Booth is also reportedly out of control when tackling in the open field. However, these seem to be pretty easy fixes for Belichick. He has a lot of experience getting the most out of the defensive backs. Thinking of the long list of dominant players from Ty Law, Asante Samuel, and Darrelle Revis.
Booth could be the next name on that list.
Pro Comparison – Vontae Davis
The most common pro comparison for Andrew Booth appears to be Jaire Alexander, but I believe Vontae Davis is more fitting. Both six-foot corners are well built, are aggressive on the line of scrimmage, have fluid hips, great football IQ, and are great tacklers. NFL scouts are saying almost the exact same thing about Booth that they said about Davis back when he entered the draft.
However, Vontae Davis’ weaknesses seem to have been more serious than Booth’s, a lack of effort, ball skills, and technique were some issues that NFL scouts noted about him. So I’d say Booth is a better, more coachable version of Vontae Davis.
Fit In New England
Andrew Booth appears to be a good fit for the struggling Patriots cornerback room, since his physicality, play-making ability, and football IQ are all qualities Bill Belichick looks for in a defensive back. His weaknesses appear to be easy fixes, and joining the Patriots program could be great for his career.
Booth already has a top-30 meeting scheduled with the Patriots, so it’s obvious that there is mutual interest. Although I love this pick, it’s very rare to see New England select defensive backs this early in the draft. I have a feeling that this year, the Patriots will trade out of the first round, and pick a cornerback on day two.
Plus, New England’s cornerbacks usually take some time to develop, so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Shaun Wade or Myles Bryant were to step up and replace JC Jackson. These prospect meetings are important though, and the Patriots could see something they like in the young corner.
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