By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff

If you can take one thing away from last night’s game, it was the performance of the first and second year guys. In a preseason opening game, it’s difficult to single out one players, since playing time fluctuates so much. So for the first Patriots Daily gameball of 2010, we’re going to hand it to the draft classes of 2009 and 2010, most of whom gave us some things to be encouraged about last night.

Brandon Spikes and Julian Edelman Were Two of The Stars Last Night.

Pat Chung – Big open field third down stop against the Saints first team offense.

Darius Butler – He did have a poor illegal contact penalty late in the game, but played well for most of the night. He had a big play in run coverage on the Saints second drive.

Sebastian Vollmer – Was big in a tight formation with Crumpler and Gronkowski early in the game that led to a BJGE TD.

Brandon Tate – Showed his ability with a great 20 yard catch on the sideline.

Tyrone McKenzie – Didn’t get to play until late in the game, which some might take as a negative, but he was wearing the green dot on his helmet, indicating he was the play caller. Combined with UDFA Sergio Brown on a thumping sandwich hit on a Saint receiver late in the game.

George Bussey – The second year offensive lineman saw quite a bit of time last night.

Myron Pryor – Once again stout on the line, looked a bit bigger than last season.

Julian Edelman – If you were to single out someone for player of the game, it would be Edelman, who had 6 catches for 90 yards, and an electric punt return.

Devin McCourty – A 52-yard kickoff return, solid defense, a beast on special teams. Not much complaining about the first round pick last night.

Rob Gronkowski – The massive tight end was moving people all over the place in the blocking game.

Brandon Spikes – A very strong performance by the rookie middle linebacker, who started, and saw extensive playing time, and always seemed to be in on the action. He led the team with eight combined tackles.

Aaron Hernandez – Wasn’t quite the dynamo he’s been in camp, but did make three catches on the night, and moved well.

Taylor Price – A couple catches, a couple punt returns, nothing spectacular, but didn’t look out of place, either.

Zoltan Mesko – He had some worried with a few shaky performances in camp, but looked good last night, getting a few punts down inside the 20.

Ted Larson – The rookie center got quite a bit of time last night as well.

Zac Robinson – The 7th round QB was up and down, but did make a few nice plays.

Dane Fletcher – The UDFA was in the game ahead of McKenzie at ILB and looked pretty good out there, making a couple tackles.

Sergio Brown – The UDFA safety made a couple of thumping hits that stood out.

All in all, not bad at all.