Bubble Watch: Malcolm Williams

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

NAME: Malcolm Williams

POSITION: Cornerback

AGE: 24

2011 STATS: 2 games (no starts), 1 special teams tackle

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: While his contributions on defense would be limited, Williams has the potential to be a top-shelf special teams player. Hampered by a leg injury last preseason, the 2011 seventh-round pick played in every playoff game and will be fighting for a back-end roster spot this summer. His best chance to crack the 53-man roster will come as the fifth cornerback and a "core four" special teams player. There was also talk of Williams' cross-training as a safety, which would add to his value.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: In past years, the Patriots typically filled out the back of their training camp roster with undrafted free agents. This season, only a handful of such players were signed, and none were defensive backs. The competition at cornerback and safety is tight, especially among players who would project to be mainly special teams contributors. Williams falls into that category, and it will be difficult for him to beat out holdovers like Sergio Brown or Josh Barrett, or newcomers like Marquice Cole or Nate Ebner, to secure a roster spot.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: CB Marquice Cole, S Sergio Brown, S Nate Ebner