(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2012.)
NAME: Alex Silvestro
POSITION: Tight end/defensive lineman
2011 STATS: 1 game (no starts), 2 defensive tackles
INJURY STATUS: No known injuries
CHANCE OF MAKING 53-MAN ROSTER: 15%
WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Silvestro most likely earned points with the coaching staff by becoming a two-way player, practicing as both a defensive end and tight end as early as last season, according to coach Bill Belichick. Considered an edge player/pass rusher coming into his rookie season, Silvestro appeared to bulk up in 2011. When he was promoted to the 53-man roster late last season, Silvestro was used as an interior defensive lineman, closer to a Brandon Deaderick or Shaun Ellis role than an edge player like Andre Carter or Mark Anderson. If the Patriots are looking for a back-end player with positional versatility, Silvestro could get the nod with a strong preseason.
WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: While his move to tight end adds to his value, it may still end up being a relatively fruitless endeavor for the Rutgers product. The Patriots are deep at the position, and could add depth if they sign veteran Visanthe Shiancoe. After spending all of organized team activities open to reporters at tight end, one has to wonder if Silvestro, who faces long odds to make the team at tight end, loses out by not practicing and competing against other defensive linemen. The team could well be penciling Silvestro in for a practice squad role for a second straight season.
CLOSEST COMPETITION: TE Daniel Fells, DE Jermaine Cunningham, DE Justin Francis