But did I overlook a more obvious choice?
That question came to mind after scanning the comments section of the original article, when a reader made a good point: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, if he's called upon to start the first four games, could easily fit into that category of having the most to prove.
I hadn't thought much about Garoppolo, and should have.
A few others who were under consideration:
G Jonathan Cooper -- Acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for defensive end Chandler Jones, the 2013 first-round pick is hoping to revive his career in New England. If he can't do it with returning offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, it might not happen anywhere.
WR Aaron Dobson -- The 2013 second-round draft choice is far from a lock to make the roster, especially after the club signed Chris Hogan (Bills) in free agency and drafted Malcolm Mitchell in the fourth round.
DE Trey Flowers -- The 2015 fourth-round draft choice flashed at the start of the preseason, but landed on season-ending injured reserve (shoulder) after appearing in just one regular-season game.
RB Dion Lewis -- The main thing to prove is from an injury perspective, that the 5-foot-8, 195-pound dynamic rusher can make it through a season healthy. He is coming off a torn ACL sustained last November.
DE Chris Long -- The veteran free-agent signing had his sack production decline in each of the last two years, but part of that was tied to injuries. How much?
LB Shea McClellin -- A free-agent signing from Chicago who landed a lucrative three-year deal, McClellin was valued much more by the Patriots than Chicago. The 2012 first-round pick of the Bears didn't meet expectations the last four years based on his draft status.