In the salary cap era, any UDFA signing is a win for teams. Filling out the roster with contributors who do not break the bank are the hallmark of winning teams. For a team in competition for a trip to the Super Bowl each season, any roster spot filled by a UDFA is a grade of a straight “A.” Here is a look at some of the UDFA’s in training camp at key positions in need of depth on offense (running back and tight end), who could be the next player earning a high score in New England’s roster building efforts
Who will be the biggest surprise for the Patriots in 2014? There are always the players for the New England Patriots who breakout and surprise: Whether it was wide receiver Julian Edelman last season, defensive ends Andre Carter and Mark Anderson in 2011, or running back Danny Woodhead in 2009, although it is nearly impossible to know who will be the next breakout star on this roster, there are five players who could having a coming-out season in 2014 and be the next major contributor for the Patriots on the roster.
Counting down to training camp: Darrelle Revis was the top free agent signing this offseason, but how did the other Patriots free agent signings grade out?
The Patriots not only have to identify a replacement for Blount, but Ridley, Vereen and Bolden all are entering the final year of their contracts in 2014. Ridley, Vereen, and White are locks to make the roster in ’14, but the final spot (possibly two spots) is up in the air and will be a position to watch in training camp and the preseason. But they need a formidable running game if they want to go anywhere.
Rams offensive lineman Jake Long comes in at #58 on the FSF Top 100 players. Too high? Too low? Check him out here and the full list so far at FSF here: http://firststopfantasy.com/articles/the-complete-fsf-top-100-players-list/
With an exciting offseason (Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner) and usual head-scratching NFL Draft (Dominique Easley and Jimmy Garoppolo) the Patriots’ training camp is expected to feature a number of interesting position battles. There is Bill Belichick’s favorite buzzword—competition—at a number of spots. Here are seven spots to watch this summer at the Patriots training camp and during the preseason games:
Every season in the NFL there are a number of players ready to take the leap to the next level. Whether it is simply acclimating to the speed of the NFL game, growing into an offense or defense, or finding the right fit for their skills and talents. Many young players make the jump following their rookie season but not all on the list are second-year players. The most difficult part is not identifying the young players ready to be the next Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Antonio Brown or Julius Thomas; the difficult part is narrowing the list down to ten.
Who are the top ten breakout players in the NFL for 2014?
What are the best and worst contracts in New England? A key part of the success of New England has been in keeping the team under the salary cap with savvy signings, decent drafting and knowing when to get rid of a player and reinvest the salary elsewhere (Richard Seymour, Lawyer Milloy, Willie McGinest, etc.). While there have been missteps (Aaron Hernandez, Adalius Thomas, Derrick Burgess, etc.), for the most part, New England is able to work around the salary cap and not handcuff themselves.
Is this the end of Rondo in Boston? Selecting a player in the draft lottery who slots in at the same position as their apparent captain and team leader is not often a sign that the team is planning to extend their incumbent player.
Smart may not be the most explosive player in the NBA Draft, but he is the most NBA ready, and it opens the door for the Celtics to move Rondo, rather than overpay him or let him leave via free agency.