Originally Posted by patchick
I just wanted to take a moment to marvel over that stat, and what it says about the overall depth and quality of this Patriots draft. 6 different rookies starting already -- not for a scrub team scrounging for spare parts, but for a 4-1 team. And that stat doesn't even count Mesko.
The thing that has impressed me from a player acquisition perspective is that the rookies haven't displaced players for the most part (outside of TE and P)...but they have allowed players to slide into roles that are better suited to their skills:
McCourty - Moves Butler/Wilhite to nickel or inside CB
Cunningham - TBC to a rush specialist
Spikes - Guyton to sub package
Deaderick - Wright to sub package
So the rookies are not only providing production and energy when they are on the field, but they are allowing the vets to have more meaningful (and productive) snaps when they are in.
That keeps the team fresh in the 4th quarter (and over a long season), provides quality depth for the inevitable injuries and gives Belichick some flexibility to put unique groupings on the field (did anyone think Fletcher and Crable would be on the field late in a tied game against arguably the top team in the NFL?).
The team is going through some growing pains now, but if they continue to see the growth and contributions from EVERYONE on the roster, they could be tough to be when the games are win-or-go-home.