The New England Patriots will learn what the immediate future holds for starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard during sentencing on Thursday. The second-year player was found guilty of three charges, including assault of a police officer, in February. The off-the-field incident happened in Nebraska in 2012.
Dennard faces a maximum of six years in prison. He started seven games for the Patriots last season and recorded 35 tackles and three interceptions. The former seventh-round pick was one of the biggest steals of last year’s draft. But any amount of jail time -- whether its one year or more -- puts Dennard's career with the Patriots in jeopardy.
Even if Dennard manages to avoid jail time, the NFL could discipline the corner with a suspension. Therefore, Patriots cannot expect Dennard to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. New England must continue to explore the cornerback position via the NFL draft, regardless of Dennard's verdict this week.