Sophomores in the spotlight
October, 20, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
As the New England Patriots departed Foxborough for the start of five offdays Wednesday, we put the team’s rookie class in the spotlight. Now it’s time to take a look at the sophomores through six games.
David Butler II/US PresswirePatriots second-year tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots have 15 second-year players currently attached to their roster, including practice squad and reserve lists. Nine of the team’s 12 draft picks that year remain with the team, many of whom have carved out big roles in New England.
NEW ENGLAND'S SOPHOMORE CLASS
A quick look at the performance of the second-year players for the Patriots:
|CB||Devin McCourty||1st (27)||2011 captain has allowed 35 catches, 496 yards, 4 TDs|
|TE||Rob Gronkowski||2nd (42)||29 receptions, 401 yards, 5 TDs; Solid run blocking|
|LB||Jermaine Cunningham||2nd (53)||Just 34 snaps in five appearances|
|LB||Brandon Spikes||2nd (62)||Big game vs. Cowboys after injury slowed start|
|WR||Taylor Price||3rd (90)||Solid preseason, but only one snap in regular season|
|TE||Aaron Hernandez||4th (113)||27 catches, 289 yards, 3 TD despite missing 2 games|
|P||Zoltan Mesko||5th (150)||19 punts, 872 yards (45.9 average); 6 inside the 20|
|OL||Thomas Welch||7th (208)||Two stints on 53-man roster as backup T/TE|
|DL||Brandon Deaderick||7th (247)||Practiced this week after starting on reserve/PUP|
|LB||Dane Fletcher||undrafted||Core special teamer, Short-yardage FB; limited LB reps|
|S||Sergio Brown||undrafted||Starter reps early in the season; inactive vs. Cowboys|
|DL||Kyle Love||undrafted||Starter next to Wilfork in base 4-3; 165 snaps on season|
Three members of the Patriots' 2010 draft class are no longer with the team in offensive lineman Ted Larsen (6th round, 205th overall); defensive lineman Kade Weston (7th round, 248th overall), and quarterback Zac Robinson (7th round, 250th overall)... The Patriots have three other second-year players currently on the roster that weren't with the team last year in cornerback Phillip Adams and practice squad offensive linemen Matt Kopa and Nick McDonald.
Your turn: Which sophomores are meeting, exceeding, or falling short of your expectations in their second NFL seasons. Sound off in the comments.