- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Balancing the fine line of not reading too much into one training camp practice and passing along what we saw, here is a group of players who could be asked to do different things than we've seen in the past:
DL Brandon Deaderick (3rd year) -- When the Patriots were in their 3-4 defense the last two seasons, Deaderick's best fit was at Ty Warren's old left end spot. In a four-man line, he saw plenty of time at left end as well, where his strength and run support was tapped. In Thursday's opening training camp practice, Deaderick (6-4, 305) played more of a penetrating interior role. Similar to Gerard Warren, he has some flexibility that makes him an option at various spots.
DE Rob Ninkovich (7th year) -- He could possibly return to his roots at Purdue, where he was a defensive end in a four-man line wreaking havoc as a pass-rusher. In the 3-4, he's mostly played outside linebacker. He also has played some strongside linebacker in the team's 4-3.
CB Kyle Arrington (4th year) -- Played like the team's top cornerback in the opening practice (one notable pass breakup). When a third cornerback came on, he moved inside to the slot, where he played well in Super Bowl XLVI against Victor Cruz. Arrington has played in the slot before, but he could be primed to make it more of a regular home in 2012 in the sub defense (which the Patriots were in 63 percent of the time last regular season).
RB Shane Vereen (2nd year) -- Lined up next to top kickoff returner Danny Woodhead, a spot occupied most often by special teams captain Matthew Slater last season.
DB Will Allen (12th year) -- Was at safety for the opening practice, even though the majority of snaps he's taken over his career have been at cornerback.
TE Alex Silvestro (1st year) -- Defensive end who was promoted to the active roster the night before the Super Bowl, knocking receiver Tiquan Underwood off, has switched to tight end. He is a longshot to make the roster there.
CB Ross Ventrone (2nd year) -- Safety who bounced between the practice squad and active roster last year lined up at cornerback.