A few days prior to the Patriots-Lions preseason game, I put forth my second stab at projecting the Patriots’ final roster. Since then, we’ve seen the Patriots get throttled by the Lions and the roster get cut from 90 players to 80 players. I’ve had to make some adjustments, and there are quite a few changes to my previous roster projection. The plan going forward will be to do one more projection after the preseason finale Thursday night before the Patriots put together their final roster this weekend.
Without further ado, let’s go to my third stab at a roster projection.
No changes here.
Running Backs (5)
Kevin Faulk opens the season on the PUP list. I’m keeping Sammy Morris this time around. He still plays special teams, plays fullback in some formations, and adds a veteran presence in the backfield until Kevin Faulk returns. This also spot also serves as a placeholder until Faulk is indeed ready to go, or placed on IR.
Wide Receivers (6)
No changes from my last projection. Slater makes the squad by virtue of his value on special teams. Brandon Tate didn’t show me anything during the Lions game to make me want to put him back on the roster.
Tight Ends (3)
Rookie free agent Will Yeatman has beaten out Lee Smith for the third TE spot. He has seen more time with the first unit and is capable when called upon.
Offensive Linemen (9)
There are no changes here from last week. Rookie Marcus Cannon starts the year on the non-football injury/PUP list. I DO NOT believe that these will be the offensive linemen when the Pats play Miami in the regular season opener. They will sign some interior help (guard/center) for the right side, especially if Dan Connolly misses any significant time due to the injury suffered against the Lions.
Defensive Linemen (10)
Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick start the season on the PUP list in this scenario. Last week, I had Mike Wright going on IR, but he returned to practice today. Unless he suffers another setback, I don’t see him not being on the final roster. He has versatility and was the team’s best pass rusher last season. There’s lots of depth here, which should keep everyone fresh throughout the season.
I removed Ricky Brown, who was on the last list. Sammy Morris takes his spot on special teams and provides more value in another area of the team. Jermaine Cunningham, if healthy, has the flexibility to play linebacker if necessary so he helps boost the depth here. Andre Carter has also played some linebacker as well.
No changes here, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Patriots make a move and bring in somebody else if there are better options on the waiver wire.
James Sanders was a surprising cut, and I don’t see them adding another player on top of what they have. If they sign another safety, they’ll likely release Ihedigbo to make room. Ross Ventrone, who was re-signed yesterday, could find his way onto the roster if he shows to be a better special teams player than Ihedigbo.
The Patriots released long snapper Matt Katula and replaced him with James Dearth.