(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2013.)
NAME: Daniel Fells
POSITION: Tight end
2012 STATS: 13 games (4 starts), 4 receptions (85 yards, 0 touchdowns)
INJURY STATUS: No known injuries.
CHANCE OF MAKING 53-MAN ROSTER: 70%
WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: After a stint on the PUP list to begin training camp last season led into a quiet 2012 campaign, Fells could be in position to capitalize on an uncertain landscape for the Patriots at tight end. If he can bounce back and regain his old form (41 receptions in 2010), Fells could take an increased role in the offense this season. Even if he doesn't flash in the preseason, he provides veteran insurance where it's badly needed.
WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: While offseason surgeries for Rob Gronkowski and the release of Aaron Hernandez this offseason would make it seem like Fells has a chance to break out, it should be noted that both Gronkowski and Hernandez missed time last season, and Fells failed to take advantage. Instead, Michael Hoomanawanui, who was signed off the Redskins' practice squad in September, became a bigger contributor. If Hoomanawanui maintains that pace, and undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld has a strong training camp, then Fells and his $1.25 million base salary could become expendable.
CLOSEST COMPETITION: TE Zach Sudfeld, TE Jake Ballard, TE Michael Hoomanawanui