Leona James will make a first-team debut in the NFL this season.

The first-round pick from USC made a brief appearance last season on special teams.

She is expected to make her first appearance on defense, where she has been in camp this week.

The Patriots are in the midst of a rebuilding process.

They signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a three-year deal.

He will compete for the starting cornerback job with Bradley Fletcher.

The Pats are also expected to bring in veteran free agent safety Darian Stewart.

Stewart is coming off a torn ACL.

He missed the first five games of the season with a hamstring injury.

He returned for one preseason game and had a few tackles in that contest.

The fourth-round selection in 2016 from the University of Southern California was a backup for the Patriots last season.

He was on the practice squad last year but played in all 16 games.

James has a history of playing special teams for the Pats.

She was a reserve for the 2015 team.

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