K Stephen Gostkowski, P Zoltan Mesko, LS Danny Aiken, PR Julian Edelman, KR Danny Woodhead.
was strong in 2011 as he returned from a torn quad to hit 28 of 33
field-goal attempts, including 10 of 13 from 40-plus yards. His strong
leg also helps out on kickoffs, where he ranked tied for fourth in the
AFC and 10th in the NFL.
Mesko made huge jumps in his second season,
finished third in the NFL in net average. He's only getting better and
becoming more of a weapon for a team whose defense can use all the help
it can get from the kicking game.
Aiken was solid as an undrafted
rookie after joining the team during the year. The versatile Edelman
has developed into a solid force on punt returns, finishing 11th in the
NFL with a 10.7-yard average that included a 72-yard touchdown in 2011.
Woodhead was the leader of a kickoff return unit that really struggled
last fall. He finished 25th in the league with a 21.9-yard average and
is the least secure of the specialists. Belichick has given a number of
different players chances on kickoffs this spring and that will
continue into the summer. Vereen, McCourty or others could be options
to replace Woodhead as the primary returner