It’s always interesting to take a look at the New England Patriots Bubble Watch feature running on ESPN Boston from time to time, as I like to take a look at the percentages that Mike Rodak pegs for the fringe-roster guys on the Pats. Seventh-round pick Steve Beauharnais is a player I have penciled in on my 53-man roster as Tracy White’s replacement as a depth linebacker and on special teams, and Beauharnais is somebody who can become a nice role player as a backup LB and core special teamer on the Pats. Beauharnais comes off as the kind of “do your job” player Bill Belichick loves, and that’s a common thread with most Rutgers products (see Logan Ryan, Devin McCourty, and Kyle Arrington as other examples).
Anyway, Rodak did his bubble watch piece on Beauharnais a couple of days ago, and he gives the seventh-round pick a 60% chance of making the roster, and I would actually bump up those odds. He does have competition from three known commodities as backup LBs and special teamers in Jeff Tarpinian, Mike Rivera, and Niko Koutouvides, but he has the advantage of being a rookie and could be better than all three of those players. Beauharnais has more upside as an LB than all three of them, but I would put him either third or fourth on that list as a special teamer, until I see more from him on that front. It isn’t easy to project Beauharnais’s abilities, but it is easy to see that he has great work ethic and has an excellent chance at making the 53-man as a rookie.
Kamar Aiken’s spot on the New England Patriots final roster is a lot more cloudy, and Rodak’s projection of Aiken’s chances reflect that. Rodak gives Aiken just a 20% chance of making the final roster, and that’s a number I agree with. However, there are a couple of things working in Aiken’s favor, with the first being the uncertain nature of the wide receiver position. This is a wide-open competition, and you have to think it just got even better for guys like Aiken after the release of Donald Jones. Aiken also has experience on the roster from last season, and the UCF product looked good during OTAs and minicamp, which also puts him in a good position. Aiken has upside, but undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins (a big standout at OTAs and minicamp) likely has a better chance of making the 53-man roster. But, again, Aiken’s upside means that you shouldn’t count him out.