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Bill Belichick praises UDFA CB Cre'Von LeBlanc in pre-practice press conference

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Cre'Von LeBlanc was one of the Patriots undrafted free agent signees for the 2016 season, but he's making a case to be on the 53-man roster. Before the Patriots started their joint practice session with the Chicago Bears, the Patriots head coach had a press conference with the media and the topic shifted towards the undrafted corner. Belichick even threw out a Malcolm Butler comparison about how both corners went undrafted due to having uninspiring timed measurables (LeBlanc ran 4.67, Butler 4.62 on their Pro Days) and not having exceptional size and how they've fought their way to relevancy in their rookie camp.

In 2014, Butler caught the attention of the coaching staff with a strong performance in the first preseason game against the Washington Redskins. In 2016, we saw the same with LeBlanc. During the first preseason game, the undrafted rookie out of Florida Atlantic made one of the plays of the game with a one-handed interception of Garrett Grayson. On that play you see him win the point against the receiver and body him towards the back corner of the end zone to force a low percentage throw. Grayson wound up throwing the ball to LeBlanc's left shoulder, where he used only his left hand to corral the ball while being thrown to the ground by the receiver at the same time. In today's press conference, Belichick called it a "special play" while lauding the toughness and competitiveness exhibited by the young corner in the Patriots practices.

The Patriots have a strong competition for what I assume could be final roster spot, with another undrafted corner Jonathan Jones trying to earn that job as well. It could be the case that both corners wind up sticking considering the Patriots will be able to retain an extra player as a result of the Brady suspension. I'm more curious to see how camp plays out at the CB position now with the strong play from LeBlanc early on. The Patriots found lightning in a bottle two years with Malcolm Butler, perhaps history repeats itself.