Patriots vs. Eagles: Preseason Open Thread – Five Players to Watch

Jeff Tarpinian

We’ll be watching Iowa product Jeff Tarpinian closely to see if he can grab a final linebacker spot on the Patriots 53 man roster. (Photo: US Presswire)

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 – you’ll get every game for $20.

Take a look at the five players I’ll be watching closest after the jump.

Brandon Bolden
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.

Marcus Forston
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.

Jeff Tarpinian
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.

Nate Ebner
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?

4 Responses to “Patriots vs. Eagles: Preseason Open Thread – Five Players to Watch”

  1. Ken W says:

    Vereen – hope he starts with Ridley out.
    Ebner – he has had a good week at practice
    Spikes and Hightower holding down the LB spots
    Edelman – hope he gets some good time at wr
    Mallet – i hope to see a bounce back from last game

  2. Phil says:

    Ryan Mallett. I have a good feeling about tonight. The potential is there. But he needs to prove he can play up to it, which I think he will.

    Ryan Wendell. Eager to see how he plays. Start at center? Will be very telling as to where Koppen stands on this team currently.

    Also eager to see how the offensive tackles perform. Will Nate Solder bounce back? Marcus Cannon?

    How will the backups compete against the Eagles starters?

    Just what I’ll be looking at.

  3. Patriots Draft Guru says:

    Nate Ebner all night.

    Also will be interesting to see how the backup tackles perform.

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