Patriots 53-Man Projection Take 3

We have seen another week of Patriots preseason action, so it is time once again to take stock of what we’ve seen and try to project who will make the 53-man roster. After looking over my second attempt at projecting the roster, there are a few major changes that have to be made. Ron Brace has returned to the roster, Torry Holt was placed on IR and released after an injury settlement, and the Patriots traded for T/G Quinn Ojinnaka. This roster projection does not take into account any potential trade or free agent acquisitions.

Quarterback (2)

  • Tom Brady
  • Brian Hoyer

No change from Take 2.

Running backs (4)

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

No change from Take 2.

Wide Receiver (6)

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

Torry Holt is removed from the roster and no wide receivers take his place. This is a solid group, and 4 out of the 6 (Moss and Welker being excluded) will suit up and play special teams.

Tight End (3)

  • Alge Crumpler
  • Rob Gronkowski
  • Aaron Hernandez

No change from Take 2.

Offensive Line (10)

  • 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
  • T/G Quinn Ojinnaka

No offensive linemen are cut, but Holt’s vacated spot goes to the newly-acquired Ojinnaka. Ojinnaka will be suspended for the first game due to a domestic incident, so keeping an extra lineman makes sense here. It’s highly possible that when Ojinnaka returns, one of the linemen get cut. Rich Ohrnberger, Ryan Wendell, and George Bussey are all possible cuts.

Defensive Line (7)

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

I contemplated cutting Deaderick after adding Brace, but he has done well enough that I don’t think he will clear waivers to make it to the Patriots’ practice squad. Therefore, I had to make a tough cut further down.

Inside Linebacker (4)

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

No change from Take 2, but McKenzie is hanging by a thread. It was not a good sign for McKenzie to see Eric Alexander, a special teams player, playing ahead of him during the game in Atlanta. Game 3, where the starters see the most time, against the Rams will shed more light on McKenzie’s future.

Outside Linebacker (6)

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

No change from Take 2.

Corner backs (5)

  • Leigh Bodden
  • Darius Butler
  • Devin McCourty
  • Terrence Wheatley
  • Kyle Arrington

After watching Wheatley improve steadily throughout training camp and in games, I can’t cut him from the team. Jonathon Wilhite, who played fairly well his first season but has underwhelmed since, gets cut. Wilhite just gets beat too many times and misses too many tackles. Although Wheatley hasn’t seen a lot time with ones in special teams, I think he holds more value at corner than Wilhite.

Safety (3)

  • Brandon Meriweather
  • Pat Chung
  • Brandon McGowan

James Sanders, in this scenario, gets traded or cut. With depth along the defensive line an issue, I decided on keeping an extra d-lineman (Deaderick) and removing a safety. It doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense to keep 4 safeties when o-line and d-line depth is a concern. Due to Sanders’ salary and likely trade marketability, he’s the one to go.

Specialists (3)

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

No change from Take 2. Mesko’s strong performance through 2 preseason games locks up his roster spot.

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