Taking a step back during the Patriots' bye week to evaluate how far the 2011 rookie class has come after six weeks. Check out the full story to cast your vote to whether contributing rookies are meeting, exceeding, or falling short of expectations so far this season:
The Patriots enter the bye week with nearly 1/5 of their total team comprised by rookies. There's 13 total among the 73 players attached to New England's roster, including reserve lists.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick sat down with his rookies Wednesday to discuss the team's expectations as the first-year players -- locked into the routine of the NFL season ever since the lockout lifted -- prepare for their first dose of extended freedom with the next five days off.
With almost three months of football activity behind them, including a total of 10 games (four preseason, six regular season), the bye affords us a prime opportunity to reflect on the production of the Class of 2011 thus far. We invite you to share your thoughts on each as well:
Nate Solder, OT, 1st round (17th overall)
He was thrust into the fire on Monday Night Football against Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Cameron Wake in the season opener, but Solder has done a solid job (he allowed three quarterback pressures that night, but no sacks). The only time he's been beat for a sack was against the New York Jets last Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Solder even found his way onto the field as a third tight end/backup tackle in the one game Sebastian Vollmer did play. Solder's ability to step in has made Vollmer's inability to stay on the field less of a story for the Patriots over the first six weeks.
Hop HERE to read the full rookie report and cast your votes.