We're breaking down the personnel and pecking order at each position as the Patriots prepare to open camp this week.
Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, Will Smith, Michael Buchanan, Zach Moore
Ninkovich and Jones had a ton on their plate last season and played well. But Ninkovich could use a little time off the field to keep him at his playmaking best while Jones’ versatility could be better used if the interior defensive line is more stable than it was last year. Losing Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly threw a wrench into any plans to get real exotic in 2014. Bequette’s a longshot to make the team. He just hasn’t done anything since coming in as a third-round pick. Smith, who missed all of 2013 with a torn ACL, came to the Patriots from New Orleans. The 6-3, 282-pounder could bring an intriguing element to the front. Buchanan showed flashes as a rookie edge rusher and Zach Moore, a rookie from Concordia, is a project with outstanding athleticism but much to learn.