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Saturday, 05 July 2014 16:57

Patriots Training Camp Preview: Roster Overview

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With the New England Patriots heading into training camp in only a few weeks, it’s once again time to take a look at the current roster. I am going to pick five random players to look at in each article.

James Anderson, OLB This veteran linebacker was signed by the Patriots earlier in June. Anderson led the Chicago Bears in tackles with 102 and tied for second most sacks on the team with four last year.

Anderson’s role with the Patriots is going to be in sub-packages, likely paired with last years standout Jamie Collins. Anderson is a quality player when involved in nickel coverage. The Patriots have put more of an effort into having linebackers that are able to cover tight ends and wide receivers. Collins and Anderson provide a package for pass coverage in the middle.

Brandon Bolden, RB Entering his third season with the Patriots, Bolden has only amassed around 110 rushing attempts for roughly 750 yards. Bolden also missed four games in the 2012-2013 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Bolden is clearly not a lock at this point to make the final roster. The Patriots have a crowded backfield heading into training camp. With Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen both entering a contract year, the Patriots drafted James White and signed UDFAs Roy Finch and Stephen Houston. Clearly Bolden’s spot on the roster is in jeopardy.

Logan Ryan, CB When the Patriots picked Ryan in the 2013 NFL draft, it came as no surprise, considering Ryan was playing in a Rutgers jersey the year before. But, Ryan came to the Patriots with a crowded backfield. This will be the case once again. He is in familiar territory, falling behind in the depth chart, with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

I am putting Ryan in as a cornerback, that is where he was during the Patriots OTAs last month. During the offseason rumour was that Ryan was going to be moved to safety. I think this would be a regression at this point.

He played well when called upon last year. Filling in for injuries in the secondary. Being able to pick the mind of Revis for at least one season could be invaluable for the Patriots.

Rob Ninkovich, DE Each year, I think that Ninkovich is becoming more and more of a leader in the Patriots locker room. There is nothing wrong with that. He is smart with the media and just has that Patriots look to him.

Barring injury, I fully expect Ninkovich to be the starter this season, playing opposite of Chandler Jones once again. Ninkovich has consistently put up good numbers over the past few seasons. He has the ability to always keep his eye on the ball. This reminds me of former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, who always came up with a stripped ball at the most opportune times.

Josh Kline, OL Originally signed on the Patriots practice squad, Kline might be heading for a bigger role in 2014. This is one of the stories I am looking forward to heading into training camp.

Before OTAs started, long time Patriots lineman Dan Connolly knew his job was on the line. Now, he might lose his job to Kline. During OTAs Kline was used to sub out most of the first team packages.

It’s not even the fact the Kline is better than Connolly, it’s more of the fact that the Patriots will save roughly three million in cap space for cutting a player with similar talents. This bodes well for Kline moving forward.