(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2012.)
NAME: Robert Gallery
2011 STATS: 12 games (12 starts) -- with Seahawks
INJURY STATUS: No known injuries
CHANCE OF MAKING 53-MAN ROSTER: 75%
WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: The Patriots enter training camp with uncertainty at both guard positions: Left guard Logan Mankins may not immediately return from offseason knee surgery, while right guard Brian Waters was excused from mandatory minicamp for personal reasons. Until Mankins returns, Gallery is the assumed starter at left guard. He is an experienced veteran who recently made the switch from tackle, where he began his career as the second overall pick in 2004. While he has played guard only at organized team activities open to reporters, Gallery would seemingly be able to slide back outside to tackle in the event of injuries, adding to his value on the roster.
WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: In May, Mike Reiss cited one NFL scout who questioned how much Gallery had left to offer at this point in his career, having fallen out of favor in Seattle and being released after only one year of a three-year deal. When injuries hit the interior of the Patriots offensive line last year, the team found some dependable replacements in Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald and Donald Thomas. All of those players are still on the roster, and if Mankins and Waters return, it is unlikely there would be room for all of them plus Gallery on the roster. That could leave Gallery, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots, on the outside of the bubble.
CLOSEST COMPETITION: G/C Ryan Wendell, G/C Nick McDonald, G Donald Thomas