Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection: Final Take

The preseason is over and the Patriots have already started cutting players to get down to the 53-man limit, which is due tomorrow. In addition to Carson Butler, Rob Myers, and Damione Lewis, the Patriots have also cut veteran OL Eric Ghiaciuc. Ghiaciuc was vying for the back-up job at guard and center. With the hits starting, now is as good a time as any to roll out my final 53-man roster projection. This projection does not include any potential trades, and Bill Belichick has remarked today that the phone has been ringing. He did not, however, predict that a trade was forthcoming.

Quarterback (2)

  • Tom Brady
  • Brian Hoyer

No change here.

Running back (5)

  • Fred Taylor
  • Sammy Morris
  • Kevin Faulk
  • Laurence Maroney
  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis

This is one of the toughest positions to predict. The team really does not need to keep 5 backs, but who do you release? Can you rely on Taylor and Morris to remain healthy for a full season? Where does Laurence Maroney fit in all of this. I wouldn’t be surprised if a trade is consummated for say a defensive lineman, outside linebacker or corner, that BJGE or Maroney is included in the trade.

Wide Receiver (6)

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

No change here. Aiken has earned his spot due to his value on special teams and ability to contribute offensively in a pinch. Darnell Jenkins, who showed some big-play ability, is a good practice squad candidate if he clears waivers.

Tight End (3)

  • Alge Crumpler
  • Rob Gronkowski
  • Aaron Hernandez

No change.

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
  • T/G Quinn Ojinnaka*

Yes I can count. The reason Ojinnaka has a star next to his name is because he is suspended for the first game so he will not count towards the team’s roster. After Week One, the team will have to make a decision on whether to cut Ojinnaka or another player from the roster.

Defensive Line (6)

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

I thought Damione Lewis would stick due to depth concerns, but he has already been cut. Deaderick, a rookie, has made enough strides to earn a spot and if Belichick wants another lineman, don’t be surprised if Kyle Love makes the roster. Love will most definitely make it to the practice squad if he can clear waivers.

Inside Linebacker (4)

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

No change here. McKenzie has earned a spot with his improved play against the Giants. He also played special teams, showing that he can contribute in that area. I think Belichick goes with the youth and potential over the known commodity in Eric Alexander. We already know that Alexander is nothing more than a special teams player, so BB will go with take a chance on the upside of McKenzie.

Outside Linebacker (6)

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

Burgess is horrendous, but who else is there? I wouldn’t be upset if he was cut, but the Pats have no one else that could really step in (yet, barring a trade). Banta-Cain is a lock and the rest can contribute on special teams. The real unknown here is the rookie Cunningham, who did not suit up during the preseason games due to an injury. Can he make an impact this season?

Corner backs (5)

  • Darius Butler
  • Devin McCourty
  • Terrence Wheatley
  • Kyle Arrington
  • Jonathon Wilhite

Leigh Bodden is on IR so Wilhite returns to my roster projection. I haven’t made it a secret that I’m not a fan of Mr. Wilhite, and I’m hoping the Pats can pick up either through waivers or a trade another good corner. Wilhite reminds me too much of Earthwind Moreland.

Safety (4)

  • Brandon Meriweather
  • Pat Chung
  • James Sanders
  • Sergio Brown

James Sanders was a prime target for a trade or cut, and I still wouldn’t be surprised if either happen. I think that the loss of Leigh Bodden makes Sanders more valuable to the team as he will be the only member of the secondary with veteran experience in the system. The same logic in keeping Tyrone McKenzie over Eric Alexander is used here in keeping Sergio Brown over Brandon McGowan. McGowan tailed off in production last season and has been hurt recently, so he gets the axe in favor of Brown’s special teams ability and potential.

Specialists (3)

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

No change.

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