Bubble watch: Lavelle Hawkins

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

NAME: Lavelle Hawkins

POSITION: Wide receiver

AGE: 26

2012 STATS: 7 games (1 start), 5 receptions (62 yards, 0 touchdowns), 7 kick returns (205 yards)

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries.


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: It's no secret that the Patriots have a wide-open picture at wide receiver, and all it could take for Hawkins to be part of the mix is a solid training camp and preseason. Helping his cause might be injuries to Julian Edelman and rookie Josh Boyce. While both are still likely to make the 53-man roster, Hawkins has had the benefit of his health through OTAs and minicamp, which could provide him with increased reps during training camp and, with that, an opportunity to stand out.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: The Patriots are more in need of an 'X' receiver to emerge than a 'Z' option (Danny Amendola has that spot locked down), and Hawkins falls more into the 'Z' category. And while he has some experience as a kick returner and has returned punts this offseason, he may not provide enough value on special teams to justify a roster spot as a No. 5 or No. 6 receiver.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: WR Donald Jones, WR Julian Edelman, WR Kenbrell Thompkins