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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Most versatile Patriots players

By Mike Reiss

In an Insider piece, Gary Horton of Scouts Inc ranks the most versatile players in the AFC. He puts Patriots receiver Julian Edelman No. 3 on the list.

"His stats are not gaudy, but Edelman's numerous roles make him valuable to this team, and Bill Belichick really respects players who can contribute in a lot of ways," Horton writes. "He was a college QB so he is even something of a threat to throw when he lines up in the backfield as a runner. Primarily though, he will take snaps at wide receiver -- either wide or in the slot -- and he has even played some on defense at the corner position. If that isn't enough, he can also give you stability in the kicking game as a kickoff and punt returner. He is not dazzling in any of these areas, but he is dependable and not mistake prone."

Using Horton's piece as a springboard, here is one viewpoint of some of the more versatile players on the team's roster after Edelman:

Jamie Collins -- The team's top draft choice in 2013 (second round, 52nd overall) is working at linebacker but could also factor as a pass-rushing defensive end in sub packages.

Michael Hoomanawanui -- Tight end has played on the line as a fill-in for Rob Gronkowski and also has been used as a lead-blocking fullback.

Devin McCourty -- Cornerback or safety, he has been a consistent presence since joining the team as a 2010 first-round pick.

Nick McDonald -- Reserve offensive lineman has taken snaps at center, guard and tackle between the preseason and regular season.

Rob Ninkovich -- Defensive end or linebacker, dropping back in coverage or rushing the passer, he's emerged as a three-down player.

Vince Wilfork -- Nose tackle or defensive end, he breaks the prototype for a player of his size (listed at 6-2, 325).