There are players all across the NFL who are doing things that have their coaches and fans excited. Some will fulfill the summertime promise and translate that into success when it counts. Others, not so much.
Here in New England the Patriots have received some contributions from a handful of newcomers who look like they're capable to producing when the game will count next month. Trent Brown has taken control of the left tackle position and looks poised for a strong campaign. Rookie Ja'Whaun Bentley has been all over the field in two preseason games. And veterans like Adrian Clayborn and Jeremy Hill look quite comfortable in their new surroundings and could emerge as significant pieces to the Patriots puzzle in 2018.
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is focusing on this group. Which newcomer is best suited to turn his summer success into regular-season production?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
There have been several newcomers who have flashed this summer but Adrian Clayborn has the best track record of the group and I believe he will continue his strong play once the regular season starts.
Clayborn has the experience and work ethic necessary to become a fixture at defensive end for an improved Patriots front. His presence has already helped some of the younger players and that figures to continue as New England looks to add a dose of youth to the edge that was lacking last season.
Clayborn isn't the flashiest player but his combination of size, speed and strength allows him to compete well against the run while also providing a consistent pass rush off the edge. As long as he stays healthy he will be a big part of what the Patriots want to do up front, and even if he works in a rotation with youngsters like Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers he will make a solid contribution in his first season with the Patriots.
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
The Patriots didn't fill the offseason with high-profile splashes like they did last year but that doesn't mean there haven't been any significant additions made. One under-the-radar move I believe might bring some production was the signing of Jeremy Hill.
Hill has looked quick and strong this summer after shedding some weight from his Cincinnati days. He's run with purpose and has been elusive as well. With injuries impacting the running back group, Hill might get the opportunity to open the season as New England's lead back, and if that's the case I believe he will hold on to that job as long as he's healthy.
In terms of running options I believe he is the best the team has, especially considering the success he had earlier in his career with the Bengals. He's been a 1,000-yard back and he's also shown the ability to put the ball in the end zone. The Patriots will use a variety of options out of the backfield but Hill will prove to be the best in terms of running the ball — as he has been all summer.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.