Ja'Whaun Bentley's emergence highlights Pats' rookie class

Ja'Whaun Bentley was once considered a player fighting for a roster spot, but he's emerged as a player fighting for significant playing time. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

A breakdown of the New England Patriots 2018 draft class and its progress after three weeks of training camp:

Isaiah Wynn, offensive tackle/guard, first round (No. 23): The University of Georgia alum tore his left Achilles on the second series of his preseason debut Aug. 16, and will miss the 2018 season. Wynn projected as the team's top backup left tackle and left guard this year, and was even getting some work at right tackle with the top unit before the injury.

Sony Michel, running back, first round (No. 31): In the team's sixth practice of training camp, on Aug. 1, Michel walked off the field under his own power and soon thereafter underwent a procedure to drain fluid from his knee. The former Georgia star has been sidelined since, but those close to the situation don't expect it to affect most, if any, of his availability for the regular season.

Duke Dawson, cornerback, second round (No. 56): He had been working as the top nickel cornerback early in training camp, but missed the team's second preseason game with an undisclosed injury. The University of Florida product also factors into the special-teams mix, which will give him a chance to be active on the 46-man game-day roster.

Ja'Whaun Bentley, linebacker, fifth round (No. 143): One of the more promising rookies of the preseason, Bentley is no longer part of the conversation as to whether he earns a roster spot, he's making a charge for a potential significant role. The Purdue alum is a hard hitter who has also shown the instincts and athletic ability to be competitive in coverage.

Christian Sam, linebacker, sixth round (No. 178): The Arizona State product looks like he's on the roster bubble, with special teams his best chance to stick. At the least, he would be a strong practice-squad consideration -- a weakside 'backer who runs well and has shown capable ball skills when the opportunities have presented themselves (e.g. interception in second preseason game on ball bounced into the air).

Braxton Berrios, wide receiver, sixth round (No. 210): Injuries have been his biggest obstacle, as the University of Miami slot option missed most of the spring, and then was sidelined for the second week of the preseason. While he has shown reliability as a punt returner, it looks like time isn't on his side to close the gap and make the roster.

Danny Etling, quarterback, seventh round (No. 219): His maturity and work ethic have made a positive impression, and he clearly has the arm strength required to have a chance to possibly emerge in the NFL. The 2018 season will primarily be about development for the LSU alum, whether it's behind the scenes on the 53-man roster or practice squad.

Keion Crossen, cornerback, seventh round (No. 243): Making the jump from Western Carolina to the NFL is a big one, and growing pains showed up at times in the second preseason game (3 penalties against him). But Crossen has some rare physical traits that warrant serious consideration for a roster spot, somewhat similar to late-round pick Julian Edelman in 2009.

Ryan Izzo, tight end, seventh round (No. 250): The Florida State product played well in the preseason opener, and the more you watch him, he grows on you. There might not be any specific trait that stands out, but he's efficient, competitive as a blocker, and reliable as a pass-catcher. He's a strong practice-squad candidate who could make a late charge for a roster spot.

Undrafted class: Cornerback J.C. Jackson (Maryland) has arguably been the top player in this group, as he has a chance to make the roster. Punter Corey Bojorquez has yet to see game action in the competition with incumbent Ryan Allen.