Bubble watch: Marquice Cole

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

NAME: Marquice Cole

POSITION: Cornerback

AGE: 29

2012 STATS: 14 games (1 start), 17 tackles, 3 passes defensed, 1 interception

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries.


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: As with Ras-I Dowling, Cole's chances of securing a roster spot will be impacted by the availability of Alfonzo Dennard, whose status remains unclear at this point. If Dennard is suspended, released, and/or jailed, then Cole becomes more valuable as a reserve option at cornerback. But even if Dennard is part of the team this season, Cole still has value as both a quality special-teams player and a solid veteran presence in the locker room.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: During OTAs and minicamp, Cole participated in some drills as a safety, a position where the Patriots are already deep, having invested second- and third-round selections in the previous two drafts (Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon, respectively). Similarly, the Patriots have a recent second-round pick (Ras-I Dowling, 2011) and now third-round pick (Logan Ryan, 2013) at cornerback. While none of these young players has the same special-teams value as Cole, they quickly fill up roster space in the secondary, which could leave Cole, who has limited potential as a defensive player, outside the bubble.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: CB Ras-I Dowling, S Nate Ebner, S Steve Gregory