Not only is Wilfork the leader of the defensive line, but now he is also one of the primary leaders in the whole locker-room. Wilfork's influence in this training camp will be more important for his teammates opposed to his own personal aspirations. Even though he is getting older now, Wilfork is still a distance from fighting with father time for his career.
Much like Mark Anderson did last year, Trevor Scott is arriving in Foxboro as a veteran who has struggled as of late. Scott had only seven tackles in 16 games last year without registering a sack. He has only 1.5 sacks the past two years after notching 12 in his first two seasons. At 27 years of age, Scott will have to earn his playing time for the Patriots but will at the very least benefit from competing with less experienced players at his position.
Fanene comes over from the Cincinnati Bengals as a versatile player who can play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Fanene is an intense player who should provide the team with better interior push in passing situations while not being overly exposed in the running game. Like most on the roster, Fanene is looking to earn as much playing time as possible but leads the way entering training camp.
The additions of Dont'a Hightower and Bobby Carpenter could see Ninkovich move back to defensive end more. Ninkovich is the type of player who can fill in where needed and it is clear that the Patriots would benefit more if he could excel as a defensive end. He may not be a superstar, but Belichick knows Ninkovich and what to expect from him on the field. That consistency could see him land a starting spot entering the season.
Love was a pleasant surprise for the Patriots last year starting 13 games for the team. After signing his exclusive rights tender to stay with the team, Love is playing for a long-term deal. He likely won't receive that without a quality regular season this year but a good training camp is vital for a player who is still inexperienced and relatively unproven.
Some believed that Chandler Jones was the best pure pass rushing defensive end coming out of college this year. How good of an all around football player Jones will be for the Patriots however is another thing. If Jones is to be a full-time starter, rather than just a situational pass rusher, he will need to prove himself capable over the course of training camp.
Bequette, as the team's third round pick, is entering training camp as one of the most intriguing prospects but still the underdog in the competition at defensive end. Bequette undoubtedly has a lot of talent, but how quickly he adjusts to the professional game will determine the quantity and quality of his early play as a rookie.