Dissecting Patriots cornerback position

Darius Butler entered the 2010 season as the Patriots' starter at right cornerback in part because of a season-ending shoulder injury sustained by Leigh Bodden. But he lost the job in Week 3 to Kyle Arrington and didn't get it back again.

Last November, coach Bill Belichick said the following of Butler, a 2009 second-round draft choice: "The key for him is to keep working hard, stay focused, and pay attention to the little details and techniques, and executing the defense. He has a lot of talent. He’s a smart kid. It’s being able to apply it on the field and taking those coaching points in practice and the meetings and make those part of the execution.”

Butler's spot on the roster is an interesting one to discuss when it comes to the Patriots' cornerback position.

Bodden is on course to return from injury and the Patriots also drafted Ras-I Dowling at the top of the second round (33rd overall). Butler's approach is that the competition will bring out the best in everyone. "There are a lot of capable guys back there that I'm sure will jump in there and compete. Then the best two will be on the field," he said.

Much like 2008 second-round pick Terrence Wheatley entering 2010 training camp, this looks like a defining time for Butler as he enters his third season. Here is one view on the cornerback depth chart entering training camp:

Devin McCourty

Leigh Bodden

Kyle Arrington

Ras-I Dowling

Darius Butler

Jonathan Wilhite

Tony Carter

Thad Turner

Malcolm Williams