Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection Take 2

A lot has happened since my last roster projection: Ty Warren was put on IR, Derrick Burgess was reinstated, it was learned that Nick Kaczur’s injury could be season-ending, and the Pats played their first preseason game. Therefore, there are some definite shake-ups in the roster, and it’s the perfect time to try and project the 53-man roster once again. One thing to keep in mind is this projection is based on the current players on the Patriots’ roster, and doesn’t anticipate any future acquisitions, such as adding an Aaron Schobel or Adewale Ogunleye, or a player(s) that is surprisingly cut from another team.

Quarterback (2)

  • Tom Brady
  • Brian Hoyer

Zac Robinson hasn’t done anything the alter the Pats’ plans to keep 2 QBs instead of 3. Robinson is a good practice squad candidate at this point and not much more. Hoyer looks like a legit back-up for Tom Brady.

Running backs (4)

  • Laurence Maroney
  • Kevin Faulk
  • Sammy Morris
  • Fred Taylor

The more I think about BenJarvus Green-Ellis starting the first preseason game, the more I think of it as a showcase to other teams. The fact that Fred Taylor had been “starting” in practice can’t be overlooked, and the plan is to start a different back each preseason game. This is going to be one of the hardest areas to cut, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Pats decide to keep 5. This is a hard area to trim for sure.

Wide Receiver (7)

  • Randy Moss
  • Wes Welker
  • Brandon Tate
  • Torry Holt
  • Julian Edelman
  • Taylor Price
  • Sam Aiken

Unless Taylor Price can show some special teams prowess in the preseason, I have to add Aiken here. Unfortunately, Aiken hasn’t shown much value on offense, which is why I originally left him off in my original roster projection. Despite many thinking Holt’s going to get cut, I think his veteran leadership and ability to run crisp routes keeps him aboard.

Tight End (3)

  • Alge Crumpler
  • Rob Gronkowski
  • Aaron Hernandez

Offensive Line (9)

  • T Matt Light
  • C Dan Koppen
  • G Stephen Neal
  • T Sebastian Vollmer
  • G Dan Connolly
  • G Rich Ohrnberger
  • T Mark LeVoir
  • G Ryan Wendell
  • T George Bussey

From the reports I’m reading, if Nick Kaczur’s injury isn’t season-ending it will force him to miss a large amount of time. I think the Pats think about the roster, look at Dan Connolly’s strong performance Thursday night, and play it safe by placing Kaczur on IR. Ted Larsen and Thomas Whelch struggled Thursday night so they don’t make the roster here. I would anticipate them landing on the practice squad if they can clear waivers. One beautiful thing the Patriots do is play guys at different spots on the line, so if a guard needs to play center in a pinch they can make the move, which adds to the depth of the players on the roster. Logan Mankins doesn’t seem to be any closer in joining the team so he is left off.

Defensive Line (6)

  • Vince Wilfork
  • Mike Wright
  • Gerard Warren
  • Myron Pryor
  • Damione Lewis
  • Brandon Deaderick

Ty Warren is on IR and in my last projection, I had Ron Brace making the team. I think at this point, with him yet to suit up and practice, he will either A) get cut, B) be placed on the PUP list remain on the reserve/non-football injury list, or C) get placed on IR. I don’t see him suiting up for the team in the near future whatsoever. Instead of adding a player or two to take their spots and based on the success of the 3-4 base defense Thursday night, I decided to carry less d-linemen in this projection. I was worried about he 3-4 performance last time and maybe jumped the gun about seeing more 4-3. Nothing from Thursday night would indicate that more 4-3 is in the cards.

Inside Linebacker (4)

  • Jerod Mayo
  • Brandon Spikes
  • Tyrone McKenzie
  • Gary Guyton

McKenzie struggled Thursday night so at this point he is hanging by a thread. I kept him on the roster due to the potential I saw watching him in camp. If he has another weak performance he could lose his spot to Thomas Williams, who played ok on defense but has added value working as a lead-blocking fullback.

Outside Linebacker (6)

  • Tully Banta-Cain
  • Jermaine Cunningham
  • Rob Ninkovich
  • Pierre Woods
  • Marques Murrell
  • Derrick Burgess

Based on Belichick’s comments yesterday about Burgess, he will make the team despite sitting out most of camp. Burgess can also play some DE which adds to his value. Murrell was on the bubble and made my last projection just due to lack of depth. His strong performance starting Thursday night keeps his place on the team.

Corner backs (5)

  • Leigh Bodden
  • Darius Butler
  • Devin McCourty
  • Jonathon Wilhite
  • Kyle Arrington

If Terrence Wheatley has another strong performance like he did Thursday night, he will be added next round of projections. He did a good job in coverage, breaking up a goal line quick pass and showed some special teams value. The question then, is, “Who gets dropped if Wheatley is kept?” Arrington could get the ax if Wheatley can show he is just as strong a special teams player as Arrington is. Or, the cut could come from the safety position (see below).

Safety (4)

  • Brandon Meriweather
  • Pat Chung
  • James Sanders
  • Brandon McGowan

I’m not as high on Sanders as I was at the last roster projection. He had a costly special teams penalty Thursday night and a major whiff trying to tackle Saints WR Adrian Arrington, allowing him to go 51 yards. I’m not ready to cut him yet, but I certainly would entertain trade offers. Sergio Brown stood out to me when the back-ups were on the field, and his youth, low cost, and special teams play could sneak him onto the roster if Sanders is traded.

Specialists (3)

  • Stephen Gostkowski – kicker
  • Zoltan Mesko – punter
  • Jake Ingram – long snapper
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