Predicting New England Patriots' Top Training Camp Roster Battles
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Training camp is a free-for-all with the New England Patriots; the playing field is level, and there are always surprise cuts and subsequently some who surprise by making the roster.
With that said, it will be interesting to see how a few of New England's training camp battles break down.
There are two in particular that will be a lot of fun to watch.
On the roster: Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd, Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, Chad Ochocinco, Tiquan Underwood, Julian Edelman, Britt Davis, Anthony Gonzalez, Jeremy Ebert
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
The glut of wide receivers added to the roster in 2012 feels like déjà vu to 2007, when the Patriots added Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth and Kelley Washington to a core that carried over just one receiver from the previous year: Jabar Gaffney.
This year, Belichick may be the next guest on Hoarders.
The only guaranteed roster spots will belong to Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. Everything else is up for grabs.
Stallworth and Gaffney have a leg-up on the competition in that they've played in Josh McDaniels' system before.
One thing that will be interesting to watch is the relative age of the group that makes it out of training camp. The Patriots have a lot of veteran talent on their receiving corps and could need to get younger at the position sometime soon.
On the roster: Devin McCourty, Sterling Moore, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Patrick Chung, Sergio Brown, Tavon Wilson, Steve Gregory, Alfonzo Dennard, Nate Ebner, Josh Barrett, Marquice Cole, Will Allen
In order to know who's going to make the final cut, we'd have to know who projects to play where on the field. There are several players in New England's secondary who can play multiple spots.
Sterling Moore is a wild card in the sense that he started out at safety early in the season but converted to cornerback down the stretch and in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Devin McCourty started out at cornerback and shifted to safety. Second-round pick Tavon Wilson played safety last year, but his natural position is cornerback (although he'll do anything for the team).
Where those three project going forward could determine the fate of several players on the bubble.
Even Ras-I Dowling has the skill set to play safety, although he never has.
The Patriots love flexibility in their secondary, and though there will certainly be cornerbacks and safeties who are exclusive to their positions, the players who can play multiple positions will be better equipped to make it through August.
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