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Samsonite Make Your Case: First Impressions

As is the case every year, the Patriots roster underwent significant turnover during the offseason. Bill Belichick was busy throughout the spring, adding a number of free agents and trade acquisitions into the fold, then followed that by selecting nine rookies in last month's draft.

Among the more notable names of newcomers are Danny Shelton, Adrian Clayborn, Jason McCourty, Jordan Matthews, Troy Niklas and the rookie class led by Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michael and Duke Dawson.

There are plenty of interesting players and many of them will get an opportunity to earn significant roles with their new team depending on how the year unfolds.

With so many newcomers to choose from, this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is: Which newcomer will make the biggest impact for the Patriots this season?

PFW's Andy Hart says …

Sony Michel

Running back is typically a position where rookies can make an immediate impact in the NFL, particularly ones who are multi-faceted like Sony Michel.

The Patriots tend to use a lot of backs in their committee approach but Bill Belichick also has a penchant for using guys who can both run the ball in traditional sets and catch it out of the backfield. Michel has the skills to do just that, and he could very get an opportunity to fill the role held by Dion Lewis last season.

Michel is a dynamic play maker with good hands, and if he's healthy he has the ability to play on all three downs. If that happens he'll make a huge impact in New England in his rookie year.

--AH

PFW's Paul Perillo

Adrian Clayborn

This is not an easy choice to make with so many options but I believe Adrian Clayborn has the best chance to make an immediate impact because he's filling a position the Patriots simply didn't have last season. Clayborn will likely be slotted in at defensive end opposite Trey Flowers, and New England really didn't have a legitimate NFL option at the position a year ago.

Clayborn is by no means a star but he's been a steady performer over his seven-year career when healthy. He will not post huge numbers as a pass rusher but he will provide some pressure off the edge while holding strong on the edge in run support. That kind of production will be welcomed after last season when the defense got neither job done consistently.

Running backs and receivers have the chance to put up numbers, and Clayborn's will likely be modest. But in the end his unspectacular work will be a huge bonus for the defense in 2018.

--PP

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