Silvestro back to practice squad

December, 31, 2011
12/31/11
2:35
PM ET
Defensive lineman Alex Silvestro has cleared waivers and has agreed to return to the Patriots' practice squad, a move which could become official later today.

Silvestro, a rookie free agent out of Rutgers, made his NFL debut last Saturday against the Dolphins. He played 11 defensive snaps and was on the punt return unit.

The Patriots currently have their eight-man practice squad filled, but a spot for Silvestro could come open today with a promotion to the 53-man roster. Offensive tackle Matt Kopa and defensive backs Ross Ventrone and Malcolm Williams would appear to be top candidates for a promotion.

Kopa, a second-year player out of Stanford, could add depth if the Patriots are without starting left tackle Matt Light (questionable, ankle).

Ventrone and Williams could help on special teams if the Patriots are without linebacker Tracy White, who is second on the team in special teams tackles and plays on the "Big 4" -- kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return, punt coverage.

But one consideration with Ventrone is that if he plays in one more regular-season game, he will no longer be eligible for the practice squad because he will have played in nine regular-season games, which is the cut-off point.

Sixth-round draft choice Markell Carter, who could be used in a pass-rushing type role, would be another option although that appears to be a longer shot at this time.

Patriots practice squad
WR/TE Dorin Dickerson
TE Garrett Mills
OL Matt Kopa
DE Markell Carter
DE Aaron Lavarias
LB Mike Rivera
CB Malcolm Williams
S Ross Ventrone

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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