Honorable Mentions: The Patriots starting secondary. They weren't incredible, but the cornerback grouping of Malcolm Butler, Tarell Brown, and Bradley Fletcher were very good. There is still a long way to go, and all three players gave up a couple plays, but they were a solid enough unit to settle initial nerves.
Third Star: Running back Dion Lewis; While tonight was Brandon Bolden's rotation as the starting receiving back, Lewis made the most of his opportunities and possibly passed James White as the team's top receiving back option. Lewis combined 12 yards on three rushing attempts with 20 yards and a touchdown on four receptions and flashed his tight route running ability against a Panthers linebacker.
Second Star: Defensive tackle Dominique Easley; Easley showed off his pass rushing prowess against the Panthers offensive line and wreaked havoc with disruptive play after disruptive play. He shot gaps, he pushed the line of scrimmage, and he held the point of attack. While he still has a way to go before he's a fully well rounded player, his strong pass rushing ability today, combined with the run defense he displayed earlier in the preseason, shows that he's not too far away from being a complete defensive lineman.
First Star: Tight end Scott Chandler; In a game where the Patriots offensive weapons were fairly nonexistent, Chandler shed some of his rust to become a great weapon on the team's two-minute drill. He attacked the defense and moved the chains and even made a terrific touchdown that looked very similar to a Rob Gronkowski grab. The combination of Chandler and Gronkowski in the red zone is going to be devastating for opposing defenses.