As the New England Patriots approach mandatory minicamp practices, optimism continues to reign. Though the Pats' championship-less drought is approaching the decade mark, the 2014 roster's blend of foundational veterans and high-upside youth makes the Patriots one of the NFL's deepest teams.
Competition may breed maximum results for the team, but a few players will know there will be pressure on them to perform in the coming months.
Some of these players are competing for their jobs, while others will attempt to fend off competition for roles they've held in the past. Bill Belichick's mindset is immovably oriented towards the future, so a player's worth to the team is only as great as his potential in 2014 and beyond.
With that in mind, here are five Patriots whose fates could truly swing either way in the upcoming practices and in the season ahead.