Who are these guys and why did they make the team?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by drew4008, Sep 1, 2012.

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  1. drew4008

    drew4008 In the Starting Line-Up

    Forgive me for not following our roster very closely since the Super Bowl, but I see that these rather unknown names made the final 53.

    So what can you tell me about them (as far as hype/potential, camp/preseason performance, etc.) and why I should or shouldn't be excited that they're still Patriots?

    RB Brandon Bolden
    OL Nick McDonald
    OL Donald Thomas
    DL Marcus Forston
    DL Justin Francis
    LB Mike Rivera
  2. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    I won't go through all of them, but he was a guy that the Packers apparently wanted but waived, and the Patriots convinced him to come up to New England.

    After injuries to Koppen, Connolly, and Wendell, the Pats had to bring in McDonald as their fourth-string center. . . . and he more than held his own.

    Plus he can backup at guard and, to a certain extent, even tackle.
  3. Ifleninwasawizard

    Ifleninwasawizard On the Roster

    Boldon is a rookie UDFA from Old Miss who is a powerful runner. Sound familiar?

    Thomas is a serviceable backup guard who hopefully will stay that way if Waters returns.

    Forston is a rookie UDFA who I didn't follow much this off season. He had some good showings in the preseason games. Other than Rivera he is probably the biggest surprise.

    Francis is another rookie UDFA who surprised everyone by having a strong camp. A decent amount of people thought he had a chance of making the team.

    Rivera is basically just an ST guy who has bounced around practice squads for a few years after not being drafted. I only saw the first 3 preseason games and I wasn't impressed by what I saw at LB, apparently he had a better 4th game. Not a lot of people saw him making the team.
  4. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #12 Jersey

    Bolden looks physical, strong, willful runner. Competed well with Ridley and Vereen for snaps, and earned a spot on the roster. You wonder how he went undrafted.

    McDonald stands out because he can play all five OL positions. In preseason games, he was at OC one series and RT the next. Pretty incredible. Not overwhelming at any position, but improving, and has the mental side of it down. Bottom line, he creates incredible roster versatility which BB loves.

    Thomas can play OC and OG. At center, he looked better than Koppen, and looked good at OG pulling in the run game. Has the skills to be our starting RG, if Waters does not report. But more likely playing behind Waters, Connolly and Wendell... which is a nice, deep depth chart.

    Fortson showed some interior pass rush. He's one that occasionally looked explosive in camp, but I think he's a project. Guess he looked too good to risk on waivers?

    Francis sparked in camp, too, enough to push Gerard Warren off the roster. I think he's another one where BB saw value for the salary. And I think he likes bringing hard working, coachable UDFAs onto his roster whenever they flash something in camp. I think Francis is depth behind Brace, and his 2013 replacement.

    Rivera is the primary beneficiary of the Dane Fletcher injury, but that said, he earned the job against quality competition. He matched Tarpinian and Koutoutvides on ST, and outperformed them at ILB in the regular defense. He was the guy calling plays for the 2nd team D. Looked reliable, made plays against the run.

    These are all guys that played hard in camp. Tough roster to earn a spot. Each of them had an uphill slog to prove they're worthy.
  5. UK_Pat37

    UK_Pat37 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    #12 Jersey

    RB Brandon Bolden - UDFA, had a very good gamp, didn't see much in him until the last preseason game where he made his case.

    OL Nick McDonald - ex-packer. Stepped in at center last season, looked pretty good and showed versatility over preseason.

    OL Donald Thomas - I don't rate this guy as much as some. Had a very up and down preseason but flashes potential.

    DL Marcus Forston - called this guy. Great burst in camp and in games. Been impressed with him all preseason. He'll provide some interior rush.

    DL Justin Francis - similar to the above but at DE. Could shift inside...we will see.

    LB Mike Rivera -BOSSED it against the Giants. He was fighting for his spot that night and was flying around the field.
  6. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative In the Starting Line-Up

    At least 2, and as many as 5, will not see a single game day active roster this year, barring injury.
  7. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    Forget about those guys. Someone please explain to me how Tracy White made this team from the tub.
  8. slam

    slam On the Game Day Roster

    If Brandon Bolden is back fielding punts, COVER YOUR EYES!
  9. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #87 Jersey

    Bolden is the most interesting out of the group. BB must really like him to make him the 4th RB on the 53, considering his ST gaffs, and the fact it's tough for a UDFA RB to make the opening day roster. (Arian Foster to the practice squad, same with BJGE, Blount was cut from the Titans)

    He had a lot of hype coming out of camp, but he didn't really show much in the preseason except that he is a solid downhill runner. The O-line sucked for our backs though, especially Vereen and Bolden.
  10. hovis

    hovis On the Game Day Roster

    All but two of them (Bolden and Francis) are placeholders until they sign another WR or two.
  11. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #75 Jersey

    Forston was the top DT recruit in the country in 2008 and a top 10 recruit overall. Coming out of high school some people were comparing him to Warren Sapp and believed he was the best DT prospect in the last 5 years. He has a ton of talent and flashed it at times at Miami, but the biggest problem is he could never stay healthy to reach his full potential. If he can take some time to develop he might be a diamond in the rough, but the key is going to be his health.
  12. mrscruff

    mrscruff PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    Forston has been mentioned by some to have a lightning quick (for his size) first step and projects to be a nickel rusher. With Myron Pryor not having practiced thus far, Forston has a chance to show what he can do early in the season.
  13. eternal

    eternal Practice Squad Player

    #75 Jersey

    What do you mean Pryor hasn't practiced? Criqui said that Pyror was in on a tackle in the NYG game. Criqui is one of the best announcers out there, no way he was mistaken.:D
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Not sure how much of an endorsement it is to be the 4th RB on the roster when there were only 4 to choose from.
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Nice job. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. A few comments ...

    Bolden is a big, physical runner (like BJGE before him at Mississippi St.) who has more explosiveness and better receiving ability. He was injured his senior year which affected his draft stock. There was competition for him as a UDFA, and he showed enough in preseason to make it likely that he wouldn't clear waivers and to justify a spot.

    Exactly. McDonald is Mr. Versatility on the OL, and BB loves those guys. He has a high football IQ, understands the different dimensions of line play, and is young enough to still have a lot of upside. He started 2 games at center last year and played decently, and has received praise from other Pats OL vets and from BB.

    Thomas was one of the surprises of the OL during training camp, and consistently outplayed other guys. That, combined with youth and versatility, earned him a spot.

    Forston is a penetrating DT with a lot of upside who was injured a lot in college. He was once projected as a possible high draft pick. I thought he could be viewed as a long term replacement for Myron Pryor as an interior sub rusher, and with Pryor on PUP and Forston showing some flashes it makes sense to give him a chance. It would be easier to sneak him onto the PS after week 6 if Pryor comes back.

    Francis was a big surprise, and shows the ability to play both inside and out. Another young guy with a high motor and a lot of versatility.

    Rivera was the biggest surprise for me. I had Jeff Tarpinian slotted for his spot, but BB apparently thought that Rivera outplayed Tarp. That's ok by me. I'd rather have Dane Fletcher, but that won't happen this year.

    A couple of these guys could easily be headed for the PS at some point this year, but they showed enough that it would have been dicey to expose them to waivers at this time. As last year showed, other teams are eager to snap up BB's leftovers. Making such moves during the season is often easier, as teams are looking more for experienced vets who can contribute immediately.
  16. Reckedtrek

    Reckedtrek 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #95 Jersey

    You might want to put McDonald and possibly Thomas on that list as well. The most likely WR(s) they sign would be Gaffney or possibly Branch anyway. Who's coming in cold at this point to learn this offense?

    I was surprised to see Forston and Rivera make the 53. I'd agree with your statement in regards to these two.
  17. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Besides the obvious "there wasn't a better option" here are my positive thoughts on each:

    RB Brandon Bolden: Ran well in the preseason and took reps at FB. With Vareen hurt and all the FBs gone we need a guy on the team with his skill set
    OL Nick McDonald: Started at center last year, and can play every position on the line. This is perfect for a 3rd string OL
    OL Donald Thomas: Probably wasn't going to make it if Waters came back, but the Pats tried him out at center and he didn't disappoint. Like McDonald, if you are a backup OL you need to play multiple positions on this team. Hence Koppen getting cut.
    DL Marcus Forston: I didn't see him do much in the preseason, but he also didn't do anything negative. I think this one is the case of he was the best of the rest
    DL Justin Francis: Francis was great in practice (wowing the media) and even showed up in games pressuring the QB. Great potential
    LB Mike Rivera: Same as Francis, showed up in preseason (led the team in tackles) and showed potential.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  18. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Good question. Niko did look like he got hurt in the last preseason game but was fighting through it. Maybe that set Niko back while White is ready to play now. It's hard to wait on guys are in the bottom of the 53. They normally can be cut replaced with someone healthy without having to worry they will be picked up by another team.
  19. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Apparently he made it by Niko Koutouvides and Jeff Tarpinian not showing enough.
  20. mrscruff

    mrscruff PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    IMO I am not so sure there was a position battle between Tarpinian and Rivera as such. I suspect Tarpinian was brought in last year, and projected to contribute this year as a nickel LB to help with pass coverage but lost his place to Bobby Carpenter who was available in free agency this year. Rivera looks to me more like he is not so adept in coverage but more comfortable closer to the line of scrimmage and possibly viewed as insurance for Spikes etc.

    On a side note some of the names mentioned in this thread could be off the roster as early as today if the Pats get lucky with waiver claims.
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