Bubble Watch: Ross Ventrone

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

NAME: Ross Ventrone


AGE: 25

2011 STATS: 8 games (no starts), 1 defensive tackle, 2 special teams tackles

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Ventrone bounced between the active roster and practice squad enough last season to gain national attention, while becoming a bit of a fan favorite in New England. He twice earned practice player of the week honors last season, and after two seasons in New England, could be ready for a promotion.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: The Patriots moved Ventrone off their active roster for the regular-season finale last season, likely in order to maintain his practice squad eligibility for 2012. Up to that point, Ventrone had played in eight games, and a ninth would have made him ineligible for the practice squad for the remainder of his NFL career. Instead, Ventrone seems destined for the practice squad again this season, although since it will be his third and final season of eligibility, the Patriots will have to maintain a full 53-man roster for the duration of Ventrone's stint on the practice squad, according to NFL rules. Undersized as an NFL safety, Ventrone's value comes on special teams, where there is a glut of competition this summer.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: CB Malcolm Williams, S Sergio Brown, S Nate Ebner