New England Patriots: examining the practice squad

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Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

6. LB Darius Fleming

Fleming’s NFL career has been held back by a pair of ACL injuries to the same knee. The 49ers opted to not hang on to him in the 2014 offseason, from which point the Pats swooped in and signed the Notre Dame product.

Something you probably didn’t know about Fleming is the fact that he was actually active in Super Bowl XLIX. He was one of the first players to rush on to the field and celebrate with Vince Wilfork and Devin McCourty after Malcolm Butler’s heroic act.

Considering the lack of depth behind the staring trio of Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Jerod Mayo, the opportunity is there for Fleming if he proves himself in practice. Don’t be surprised if he suits up at least once before Halloween.

5. TE Asante Cleveland

From the moment the Patriots traded Jordan Devey to San Fran for the rights to Cleveland, no one really thought he would make the final roster. Sure enough, he ended up on the practice squad, an accomplishment in its own.

There really isn’t much room for Cleveland unless injuries hit the tight end position. Michael Hoomanawanui and Michael Williams are entrenched as the backups behind Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler because of their excellent blocking ability.

Next: 4. Cameron Fleming & 3. Blaine Clausell