It’s that time of year again! The Pats are two weeks into training camp, and have entered the dog days of training camp. Here’s our first crack at the 53-man roster.
Quarterback (3) Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
Pretty much a no-brainer here, as the Pats will almost certainly hang onto Hoyer as a mentor and resource for the eventual starter. It looks like the QB competition is pretty much over, with Newton taking over the majority of first team reps in practice over the past few days
Cut: Brian Lewerke
Running Back (4) James White, Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, Jakob Johnson (fullback)
PUP: Sony Michel
Cut: Lamar Miller, J.J. Taylor
With Michel and Miller on PUP, Damien Harris has reportedly taken control of the starting running back spot in New England. Miller surprisingly has not been activated yet, and may find himself cut soon if he doesn’t get healthy. It will be fascinating to see what the Patriots do once Michel is healthy enough to be activated off PUP. I wouldn’t rule out a Burkhead trade as well. Jakob Johnson should take over the fullback role with Dan Vitale opting out.
Wide Receiver (5) Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohammad Sanu, Damiere Byrd, Gunner Olszewski
Cut: Jakobi Meyers, Jeff Thomas, Devin Ross, Will Hastings, Isaiah Zuber
The top three are nearly set in stone barring injury, while Byrd has reportedly looked excellent in camp so far. Byrd should add a nice speed boost to a group clearly lacking in that department. We went with Gunner for the last spot due to his punt return prowess and ability to get open quickly. All reports are that Gunner has looked much improved this offseason, so don’t be surprised to see him on the field early and often.
If Jeff Thomas is able to get on the practice field and flash his potential, he could make a case for the Patriots to keep six receivers. Jakobi Meyers will need to have a big August if he wants to make the roster in year two.
Tight End (3) Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Ryan Izzo
Cut: Paul Butler, Rashod Berry, Jake Burt, Paul Quessenberry
Asiasi is clearly in the driver’s seat to become the starting tight end, while Keene is seemingly a rung below. The battle for the third spot should be interesting, with Izzo competing with recent veteran additions Quessenberry and Paul Butler. We went with Izzo due to his experience in the offense.
Offensive Line (9) Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Jermaine Eluemunor, Yodny Cajuste, Hjalte Froholdt, Michael Onwenu, Justin Herron
Cut: Korey Cunningham, Tyler Gauthier, Ben Braden
The offensive line is in good shape, with the only question mark being at right tackle. Eluemunor seems to have the inside track on the job, despite playing guard all of last season. It was a tough call deciding between Justin Herron and Cunningham, but we went with Herron here due to his versatility at Wake Forest.
Defensive Tackle (4) Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Xavier Williams, Byron Cowart
PUP: Beau Allen
Cut: Darius Kilgo, Bill Murray, Nick Thurman, Michael Barnett
The Patriots are razor-thin on the defensive interior, and could use a veteran body inside. Nonetheless, it was pretty easy to identify the top four here. I’d give Thurman a decent chance to win a spot, as he flashed a bit in last camp, but ultimately Cowart has more upside. Allen was reportedly in a walking boot as of last week, so it’s hard to see him starting on the active roster at this point, especially with the recent addition of Xavier Williams
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker (5) John Simon, Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings, Shilique Calhoun, Deatrich Wise
Cut: Derek Rivers, Tashawn Bowser
Another spot where the Pats have minuscule depth, it will be edge rusher by committee in 2020. Wise was one of the last players on the roster, as he doesn’t really fit the 3-4 base scheme, plus he did very little last year. This should also be the end of the road for 2017 3rd round pick Derek Rivers. I could certainly see another veteran addition here as well (*cough cough Clowney*)
Inside Linebacker (4) Ja’Whaun Bentley, Brandon Copeland, Josh Uche, Scoota Harris
Cut: Terez Hall, Cassh Maluia
Bentley and Harris are really the only true inside linebackers on the roster because Uche and Copeland are hybrid players. Bentley should be close to an every down player, and Harris will attempt to fill the role left by Elandon Roberts as the undersized thumper. We’ll be seeing lot of Adrian Phillips and Kyle Dugger at the linebacker spot in passing situations.
Cornerback (6) Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, JoeJuan Williams, Myles Bryant
Cut: D’Angelo Ross, Michael Jackson
Undoubtedly the deepest and most talented position on the roster, the Patriots can legitimately go five deep at corner. If they were in a jam for cap space, I could see Jason McCourty getting the boot, but with over $30 million to play with, his spot should be safe. Myles Bryant has been this year’s camp darling, and the 5’9″ corner will look to follow in the footsteps of Malcolm Butler and J.C. Jackson as UDFA corners that turned into studs. Look for recently acquired corner Michael Jackson to get a priority practice squad spot if he clears waivers.
Safety (5) Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Terrance Brooks, Cody Davis
No surprises here. Phillips in all likelihood will replace Chung to start, while Dugger could give him a run for his money at some point. Keep an eye out for Jason McCourty at the deep safety spot that used to be occupied by Duron Harmon. With a plethora of depth at corner, J-Mac might be best utilized as a center-fielder.
Special Teams (2) Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel
New England is in good hands with Matthew Slater and Justin Bethel as core special teamers. Together, they form the best gunner duo in the NFL. King was placed on IR and will not play this season.
IR: Brandon King
Specialists (3) Justin Rohrwasser, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona
Cut: Nick Folk
Folk was brought in over the weekend, seemingly to push ROhrwasser, but it would be premature to see Belichick cut bait with Rohrwasser so early. The only scenario that I can see Folk making the roster is if they stash Rohrwasser on IR or PUP. Bailey will look to improve on an excellent rookie campaign in 2019.
Last Three In: Gunner Olszewski, Justin Herron, Deatrich Wise
Last Three Out: Jeff Thomas, Korey Cunningham, Cassh Maluia