Bubble watch: Steve Beauharnais

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

NAME: Steve Beauharnais

POSITION: Linebacker

AGE: 23

2012 STATS: 13 games (13 starts), 83 tackles (6.0 for loss), 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 pass defensed -- at Rutgers

INJURY STATUS: No known injuries.


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Known as a hard-working, fundamentally sound player, Beauharnais could fit the Patriots mold early on. It's unlikely that he will have any significant contributions on defense, at least initially, but he could bring value down the road, especially if Brandon Spikes departs through free agency next spring. If Beauharnais shows promise this preseason -- it wouldn't be shocking if he led the defensive huddle in the second halves of those games -- then he could be a developmental piece worthy of a spot.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: The Patriots have been deep at most positions in most years, so it's far from a given that any seventh-round pick will stick on the 53-man roster in New England. While he was a solid defensive player at Rutgers, Beauharnais will need to make his mark on special teams with the Patriots. In doing so, he'll be going up against several players adept in that phase of the game. Linebacker is one of the most well-stocked groups on the roster, which could make the practice squad a more likely option for the team's final draft choice this April.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: LB Jeff Tarpinian, LB Mike Rivera, LB Niko Koutouvides