Patriots vs. Bucs: Taylor Price and 5 Exciting Players to Watch on Thursday

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IAugust 17, 2011

Patriots vs. Bucs: Taylor Price and 5 Exciting Players to Watch on Thursday

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    When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots get together on Thursday night, it will be a battle of two very different teams.

    The Patriots are a veteran-heavy team, relying on experience and proven skill to take them to the next level.

    Meanwhile, the Bucs are a very, very young team, with a lot of unproven players with high potential.

    One thing is for sure: there will be plenty of exciting players to watch on Thursday night.

    Let's take a look at five of those exciting players.

5. Dezmon Briscoe, WR

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    Briscoe is looking for an expanded role in the Tampa Bay offense this season, after appearing in only two games in 2010.

    He's looking good so far. He led the Bucs with four catches for 60 yards on Friday.

    If he can have another game like that, he has a great chance of cracking the final roster and seeing some significant playing time.

    He's not a bad option for the Bucs' offense.

4. Josh Johnson, QB

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    Josh Johnson was 7-for-12 for 108 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs' 25-0 win over the Kansas City Chiefs last week.

    He was also the team's leading rusher, with five carries for 57 yards.

    He's an exciting dual-threat QB, and he'll be fun to watch on Thursday night.

    The Bucs are in good hands if Josh Freeman ever gets hurt.

3. Ryan Mallett, QB

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    Mallett was an outstanding 12-for-19 for 164 yards and a touchdown in his first-ever action in the NFL.

    He's an exciting player, and it'll be interesting to see how much he improves this week.

    It'll also be interesting to see if he can avoid throwing interceptions again.

    The more accurate he is early in his career, the better off he'll be in a few years.

2. Da'Quan Bowers, DE

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    Bowers was originally projected as a Top Five pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    He plummeted into the second round because of a knee injury.

    Well, he's alright now and was on the field for the Bucs last week.

    Let's see if he, along with first-round pick Adrian Clayborn, can help revitalize the Bucs' stagnant pass rush.

1. Taylor Price, WR

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    Price was electric in the Pats' 47-12 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in preseason Week 1.

    He caught five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

    One of his five passes was a 50-yarder.

    He also did a decent job returning punts.

    For a guy who was on the bubble heading into the preseason, he can cement a roster spot with more exciting performances like the one he turned in last week.

    I'll be watching him to see if he can break 100 yards again on Thursday night.