(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2012.)
NAME: Joseph Addai
POSITION: Running back
2011 STATS: 12 games (11 starts), 118 rushes (433 yards, 3.7 yard average, 1 touchdown), 15 receptions (93 yards, 0 touchdowns), 1 fumble -- with Colts
INJURY STATUS: No known injuries
CHANCE OF MAKING 53-MAN ROSTER: 80%
WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Despite the loss of 2011 rushing leader BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency, the Patriots did not initially add a veteran running back through free agency or bring in another young player in the draft. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, two of the team's top draft picks in 2011, are likely to share the load in 2012, but neither is proven at the NFL level. Addai adds insurance in case neither Ridley or Vereen emerges, while competing with Danny Woodhead for a role in blitz pickup, considered a strong point for Addai.
WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: Once a first-round pick of the Colts, Addai struggled later in his career in Indianapolis. NFL running backs are well known for having a short shelf life, and Addai could be nearing the end of his. Many anticipate that Addai will make the final roster; however, if he shows signs that he is slowing down in training camp or suffers an injury (he was held out of one organized team activity with an undisclosed injury), the team could look elsewhere. In 2008, the Patriots signed veteran LaMont Jordan shortly before training camp, and he became the team's third-leading rusher that season, so there is always the possibility of a similar late addition at the position.
CLOSEST COMPETITION: RB Danny Woodhead, RB Brandon Bolden