Bubble Watch: Sergio Brown

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

NAME: Sergio Brown


AGE: 24

2011 STATS: 15 games (3 starts), 37 total tackles, 1 pass defensed, 1 interception

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: An undrafted free agent in 2010, Brown has been one of the few holdovers at a safety position that has undergone several changes in recent seasons. That could continue in 2011 if Brown is able to prove himself as a more capable special teams presence than his competition for a back-end defensive backfield spot. Last season, Brown was a "core four" special teams player, and finished fifth on the team with nine special teams tackles. He will need to show that he is ready to take another step forward and improve on that special teams contribution to stick in 2012.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: Brown started three games early last season, and was considered one possible replacement at safety after Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders were released. Brown struggled in that role, and was hit with a critical pass interference penalty against the Giants in Week 9. By the end of the season, Brown had little if any role on defense, with the team turning to converted cornerbacks Devin McCourty, Nate Jones and Sterling Moore instead at safety. Brown may have simply reached his peak in New England, and with more competition at the position and for special teams roles (sixth-round pick Nate Ebner could have the inside track for a job), it may the end of the road for Brown.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: S Nate Ebner, S Josh Barrett, S James Ihedigbo, CB Marquice Cole, CB Malcolm Williams