Bubble Watch: Justin Francis

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

NAME: Justin Francis

POSITION: Defensive end

AGE: 23

2011 STATS: 13 games (all starts), 64 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 5 pass break-ups -- with Rutgers

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Francis was a disruptive defensive player for Rutgers at a position where the Patriots have an unsettled personnel landscape. In organized team activities, Francis lined up in some drills along the interior of the defensive line, and such versatility could help in his uphill battle to secure a roster spot.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: As with all other undrafted rookies, Francis' chances are diminished by a pure numbers game. With two high draft picks (Chandler Jones and Jake Bequette) and at least one free agent acquisition (Trevor Scott) and another possible re-signing (Andre Carter) ahead of him on the depth chart, Francis might need an injury or a surprise cut to have a shot to stick on the 53-man roster.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: DE Jermaine Cunningham, DE Trevor Scott, DE/TE Alex Silvestro