Over the years the best Patriots teams have had a stellar defense that is very strong up front, tough in the middle and agile and fearsome in the back. When the Patriots won their first super bowl in 2001, the Patriots had guys like Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy then came Asante Samuel and Rodney Harrison. This season, the Patriots have a good mix of toughness as well as speed.
Starting with the cornerbacks, it all starts with Aqib Talib. Talib adds grit and toughness to the cornerback corps that the Pats haven't had in awhile. The secondary looks more comfortable on the field with him and willing to make more plays because they know he will cover them.
Ras-I Dowling and Marquice Cole are more question marks. Cole has versatility as he can play both corner as well as safety but Dowling hasn't proven himself yet, being riddled with injuries the past two seasons. Rookie Logan Ryan could make an impact this season, but will most likely see time on special teams.
On the safety side of the defense, it is definitely lead by former cornerback, Devin McCourty. McCourty was switched to safety this past season when the Patriots acquired Talib. Switching him over to safety was the smart move, as it allows him to use his speed and get in better position to make plays.
The other starting safety will most likely be Adrian Wilson. The former Cardinal adds another layer of toughness that makes receivers think twice about going up to face him. His will to win a super bowl at the tail end of his career should prove to be beneficial for the Pats secondary.
Veteran Steven Gregory and second year Tavon Wilson, will push each other for a roster spot this season but both should make the roster. Wilson has plenty of potential and Gregory made some key plays for the Pats when it was needed last season. Rookie Duron Harmon looks like the real deal but like Ryan, Harmon may not be able to crack the lineup with all the talent in front of him.
The bottom line of this secondary is that they are very versatile. Each one of them can play most positions on the secondary which will make the Patriots that much stronger, especially if injuries are a problem this season. If the Pats secondary stays healthy, there is no doubt that they could carry this team on the defensive side and make the Pats one of the most fierce some defenses to play against.