Bubble Watch: Josh Barrett

(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2012.)

NAME: Josh Barrett


AGE: 27

2011 STATS: 5 games (4 starts), 17 tackles — placed on injured reserve on Nov. 9

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Despite a lengthy injury history, Barrett has a good combination of size and athleticism. He rose to the top of the safety depth chart by the end of the preseason in 2011, starting the first four games of the season after James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather were released. While he may have struggled in that role, the additions of Steve Gregory and Tavon Wilson this offseason would likely push Barrett back down to a fourth safety role, where he could provide depth and a special teams presence. Barrett, who began training camp last season as a linebacker, appears to have slimmed down this offseason.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: The Patriots were patient when they claimed an injured Barrett off waivers in 2010 before the Broncos could place him on injured reserve. He was shelved again in 2011 after two months, a hamstring injury derailing his season. At this point, the Patriots may not be able to rely on Barrett to stay healthy.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: S James Ihedigbo, S/CB Will Allen, S Sergio Brown, S Nate Ebner