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Monday, July 8, 2013
Bubble watch: Zach Sudfeld

By Mike Rodak

(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2013.)

NAME: Zach Sudfeld

POSITION: Tight end

AGE: 24

2012 STATS: 13 games, 45 receptions (598 yards, 8 touchdowns) -- at Nevada

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries.

CHANCE OF MAKING 53-MAN ROSTER: 65%

WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: It's no mystery that the Patriots have significant uncertainty at the tight end position heading into training camp, and it's Sudfeld who could stand to benefit the most. He saw extensive practice time during OTAs and minicamp, and has an intriguing combination of size (6-foot-7, 260 pounds), mobility, and hands that could allow him to play either the 'Y' or 'F' tight end positions. Regardless of whether Rob Gronkowski begins the regular season on the active roster or PUP, the Patriots may want to keep Sudfeld on the 53-man roster as a young piece to develop at the position.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: Undrafted rookies always have an uphill battle to make the team out of training camp, and one thing to keep an eye on with Sudfeld is injuries. He had six surgeries while at Nevada and the NCAA granted him a rare second medical redshirt after he broke his leg in 2011. It's too early to question his durability as an NFL player, but any injury that sidelines him during the preseason will hurt his chances of making the 53-man roster.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: TE Daniel Fells, TE Jake Ballard, TE Michael Hoomanawanui