ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss has a very interesting post on how he thinks the youth of the team breaks down in terms of impact on the team. He notes that there are 25 first- or second-year players on the team and a good chunk of them he lists in the “high impact” category. To see the full piece, click on the link above. Here’s a breakdown as to who he lists in what category:
High Impact: CB Darius Butler, S Pat Chung, OLB Jermain Cunningham, WR Julian Edelman, TE Rob Gronkowski, TE Aaron Hernandez, LS Jake Ingram, CB Devin McCourty, P Zoltan Mesko, ILB Brandon Spikes, WR Brandon Tate, OT Sebastian Vollmer
Moderate Impact: QB Brian Hoyer, ILB Tyrone McKenzie, WR Taylor Price, DL Myron Pryor
Low Impact: DE Ron Brace, T/G George Bussey, DE Brandon Deaderick, C/G Ted Larsen, C/G Rich Ohrnberger, DL Darryl Richard, QB Zac Robinson, OT Thomas Welch, DE Kade Weston
One thing that I would add is that a single injury can vault a low or moderate impact player into high impact, for better or for worse. The team is already working with a depleted interior line, most notably at left guard, and with Logan Mankins’ replacement Nick Kaczur out, any one of the guards listed above could be thrust into a starting role. With the new era in full swing for the Pats, we could be seeing the return of a dynasty or the descent into mediocrity. It all depends on the development on the players listed above.
If you haven’t checked out my 53-man roster projection (take 1), you can view that here.