NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
As you’re watching the Patriots’ second preseason game tonight, feel free to throw your thoughts on all the action into this thread. Before the game begins though, tell us the top six players you’re looking forward to watching tonight.
To get ready for the game, check out Matthew’s 10 things to watch column.
If you can’t watch the game on TV – sign up for Preseason Live on NFL.com – you’ll get every game for $20.
Take a look at the five players I’ll be watching closest after the jump.
There’s a couple reasons to watch Bolden closely tonight. First to see where he currently stands on the depth chart and whether Shane Vereen has passed him. Second, it will be interesting to see if Bolden takes any snaps at fullback. There have been reports that he’s taken snaps at that position when the Patriots are in two back sets. If Bolden can prove that he can contribute lead blocking and picking up blitz pickups, he has a much better chance of making this team.
Darrion Weems/Kyle Hill/Dustin Waldron
Okay fine, I cheated and included seven. These three guys will likely be competing for a chance at a practice squad spot in the remaining preseason games. Since Vollmer’s back could flare up at any time, it will be important to carry an extra tackle on the practice squad. Weems has looked the best so far, but none of these players have flashed. Matt Kopa, Marcus Zusevics and Kyle Hix would be in this mix as well if they were healthy.
Forston was one of the nicest surprises in the Patriots first game against the Saints. He went undrafted, but could have been a mid-round pick if he had proved he could stay healthy at Miami. Watch for Forston’s ability to break off the snap.
There’s four linebackers competing for one or two spots on this roster right now in Tarp, Tracy White, Mike Rivera and Niko Koutouvides. Tarpinian may have the most upside of those four players, so he’ll be the player I’m rooting for to make the roster. His Iowa roots down hurt his fan base on this site either.
If Tavon Wilson sits out tonight, we could see Ebner getting snaps with the second team at safety. It will be very interesting how he looks playing defense, since he barely did that at Ohio State. If he can contribute there this year, tons of credit goes out to safeties coach Brian Flores, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the Patriots scouts for recognizing his talent and Ohio State defensive line coach/Patriots legend Mike Vrabel for alerting the Patriots about his upside.
So that’s who I’ll be watching tonight, who are the top five (or seven like me) players you’ll have your eyes on?