Bubble watch: Marcus Benard

(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2013.)

NAME: Marcus Benard

POSITION: Defensive end

AGE: 27

2012 STATS: None; spent first 6 games on Non-Football Injury list for Cleveland before being released.

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries.


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: If there's one player who could creep up onto the radar this preseason, it could be Benard. He was productive for Cleveland in 2010 before injuries, including those from a motorcycle accident in October 2011, essentially wiped out his last two seasons. The Patriots are still looking for depth among pass-rushers, and Benard, who had 7.5 sacks in 2010, could fit the bill with a solid training camp.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: Benard is part of a crowded picture at defensive end, and will very likely be locked in a battle with Jermaine Cunningham to be part of the rotation at the position. With Justin Francis and Jake Bequette good bets to crack the 53-man roster, and seventh-round pick Michael Buchanan factoring into the mix, Benard has an uphill battle at a position where the Patriots have invested heavily in draft picks recently.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: DE Jermaine Cunningham, DE Michael Buchanan, DE Jason Vega