With some down time before training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the defensive line.
LOCKS: Trey Flowers, Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy, Adrian Clayborn, Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers
BUBBLE: Adam Butler, Eric Lee, Vincent Valentine, Keionta Davis
LONG SHOTS: Geneo Grissom, John Atkins, Frank Herron, Trent Harris
BREAKDOWN: There is some flexibility with this group depending on how guys like Rivers, Davis and Lee are categorized. For the purposes of this exercise they're considered defensive ends and in the mix for edge roles. Rivers could emerge as a sub rusher behind projected starters Flowers and Clayborn with Wise having the ability to play inside and out.
A rotation among Shelton, Brown and Guy could develop inside, leaving Valentine and Butler fighting for jobs. Lee and Davis have some pass rushing ability and could factor into subpackages as well.
Three undrafted rookies – Atkins, Herron and Harris – will need to open eyes during the summer. Atkins and Herron are inside guys while Harris is an undersized edge player. Grissom is strictly a special teams option and won't likely make the cut.