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Patriots showing up on special teams

8/23/2014

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With roster cutdowns coming across the NFL this week, one area that can sometimes provide insight as to how a club values a player is special teams.

With this in mind, here were the Patriots' players showing up on more than two of the core units (kickoff coverage, punt coverage) in Friday night's win over the Panthers:

Four units

S Tavon Wilson

S Nate Ebner

LB Chris White

Three units

DE Michael Buchanan

WR Matthew Slater

Linebacker Darius Fleming, vying for a backup role, found himself on the kickoff return and punt coverage units. Meanwhile, safety Patrick Chung was on the punt coverage and punt return units.

This breakdown highlights how a player like Wilson -- the 2012 second-round pick from Illinois -- has value to the team in the kicking game. In the preseason opener, he was on two of the core units (we didn't account for the punt return, as there was just one and it came late in the third quarter).

The Patriots have more depth in the defensive backfield than they've had in recent seasons, and how that could affect a player like Wilson remains to be seen. But specific to the kicking game, Wilson has helped the Patriots and would project to do so again in 2014 if he makes the roster.