Just a few days ago, I tried projecting the Patriots’ final roster for the third time. The preseason is over now and the Patriots have to trim their roster down from 80 to 53 players by tomorrow’s deadline. Eight players have already been given their walking papers. There’s sure to be plenty of activity throughout the weekend as the Pats and other teams scour the waiver wire and try and work trades to round out their rosters. This final projection is based solely on who is on the Patriots’ roster right now and doesn’t factor any waiver pick-ups or trades, though I certainly think that they are coming.
No changes from Tuesday.
Running Backs (5)
Kevin Faulk opens the season on the PUP list. No changes from Tuesday.
Wide Receivers (6)
No changes from Tuesday. Brandon Tate did nothing to hold onto a roster spot Thursday night against the Giants.
Tight Ends (3)
No changes from Tuesday.
Offensive Linemen (9)
There are no changes here from Tuesday. 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 veteran interior help (guard/center) for the right side, especially if Dan Connolly misses any significant time due to the injury suffered against the Lions. In that instance, Ryan Wendell and/or Rich Ohrnberger get cut.
Defensive Linemen (9)
Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick start the season on the PUP list in this scenario. The only change here is Mark Anderson being left off. I felt the need to keep an extra linebacker for special teams, so it turned into a numbers game. Mike Wright lining up as a DE and not a DT in the preseason finale helped finalize my decision to let go of Anderson.
Tracy White sticks in my final roster projection. He’s too good a special teams player to leave off the roster.
Darius Butler doesn’t make the final cut in this final projection. Antwaun Molden, after being in Foxboro only two days, showed better coverage skills in the Giants game than Butler has all preseason. He’s also taller and a little more stout, which will help against taller receivers like Plaxico Burress and Brandon Marshall, who the Pats will see twice each this season.
James Ihedigbo is replaced by Josh Barrett in this projection. Ihedigbo hasn’t shown to be an effective contributor on defense, whereas Barrett can contribute on defense and play special teams. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pats go out and grab somebody else to add to this group or replace one of these players.
No changes from Tuesday. Dearth did not have any long snapping issues in his first game as a Patriot Thursday night.