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New England Patriots: 53-man Roster Projection

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iJul 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) directs a drill as teammate Tim Tebow (5) looks on during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots face their first round of roster cut-downs at the beginning of the week and final cuts to 53 by the end of this week after the final preseason game against the Giants. With the impressive collection of writing talent at Musketfire.com, it seemed like a good idea to take advantage of their insight, analysis and expert commentary on all things New England Patriots by having one piece focusing on the pending roster cutdowns and gathering everyone’s expert opinions in one place for the convenience of you, the reader.

 

Contributing to the piece are MusketFire.com Lead Editor Joe Soriano and Staff Writers Matt Wincherauk, Gary Wolff, Chris Martin, Hal Bent, Cyrus Gellar, Chris Simoneau, Celia Westbrook, and Chris Field.

 

The Patriots’ offseason has been…interesting, to say the least.  From the uncertainty at tight end with the “Gronk Surgery Watch”and move from starting tight end of the New England Patriots to a jail cell in Southeastern Massachusetts for Aaron Hernandez. At wide receiver, the Patriots brass chose to let long-time starting wide receiver Wes Welker leave in free agency and moved quickly to sign Danny Amendola and a number of veterans who did not stick through training camp.  With veterans Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch not invited back as well, there were a number of roster spots open in the receiving corps.

 

With the New England Patriots emphasizing the defense again in the draft and some veterans brought in to contribute on the defensive line and in the secondary with the influx of young players, there are a number of positional battles as the team tries to settle on the right mix of veterans and young players to get the best talent and playmaking on the field to build the defense back to the championship levels of a decade ago.  The defense already got a reworking on the defensive line as young, run-stuffing defensive tackles Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love were cut prior to the opening of training camp.

 

With a number of undrafted free agents making their mark on both sides of the ball (and a scholarship from Rutgers University apparently coming with a “Get into Training Camp Free in Foxboro, MA” voucher to redeem), a mix of high draft picks from previous years and free agents brought in previously, and limited roster spots available,  the competition this year for a roster spot is again a tight battle coming into the end of preseason. For certain, head coach Bill Belichick will have his usual surprise cuts and moves that no one saw coming in advance. Fortunately, MusketFire.com will be on top of all the moves with insight, commentary, opinion and analysis for you the reader. So without further ado, here are the MusketFire.com staff picks and analysis for each position on the roster as cutdowns loom:

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Tags: Featured New England Patriots NFL Preseason NFL Roster Cuts Patriots Roster Cuts Patriots Roster Projection Popular Roster

  • chevss454 Will S.

    2 wks ago I thought Tebow had a guaranteed position. Now I think BB would like to have that guarantee voided.

    • Hal Bent

      Yes, would like to be a fly on the wall in the coaches room because it should be an interesting discussion with Josh McDaniels trying to keep Tebow and Belichick wanting the spot to go to a special teams player!

  • chevss454 Will S.

    TE is now the closest call for me. Fells is the superior blocker to Hooman but Hooman is the better receiver although Hooman doesn’t come close to Gronk or Suds as a receiver. Does BB need a blocker or a receiver? We have Ballard as a blocker; Suds’ receiving skills approach those of Gronk. Fells has the higher salary between him and Hooman. Fells could restructure to cement his place.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      TE has always been the most intriguing roster battle to me, because it is either a position battle if Gronk hits the PUP or a roster battle if Gronk doesn’t. I’d cut Fells due to salary.

      • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

        I agree, cut Fells…….cost > value

  • chevss454 Will S.

    Funny that a month ago WR was the most unsettled position for the Pats and now it’s the easiest to predict.

    I really hope Harrison is kept either via IR or NFI/PUP. Of all the Pats’ rookies, I had him the highest rated for the Pats. 6’3″, 235 lbs & 1 of only 4 WRs to ever put up the combine numbers he did…Harrison is in lofty company. He’s a faster, stronger version of Brandon Marshall who happens to catch the ball better, too.

    Btw, my next highest rated WR was Thompkins. Matt Waldman gets credit for turning me to Thompkins.

    • Hal Bent

      Great point! Harrison has a ton of upside and the Rutgers pedigree that goes over well in Foxboro…should be “redshirted” this year on IR and given a chance to become yet another “red zone target” with Gronk & Sudfeld next year.

  • chevss454 Will S.

    There’s a huge fall off after Nink and Jones. Bequette has been a disappointment, Buchanan & Benard are inconsistent & raw, although both have shown some flashes. Francis is a keeper. The position is ripe to be upgraded.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      I kind of regret keeping Bequette over Buch in this piece, but I just decided to go with the more experienced guy. My opinion could easily change on Thursday, but both still don’t have it yet. I really like Benard the most out of the three, but the Pats cannot play him in that stupid sub-package role as an interior rusher.

  • Tom Caiazzo

    s soon as I see someone use Tebow and Arena league in the same sentence, they lose all credibility. Tebow at his best can’t play in a fast paced, fast decision, high accuracy passing league. The same goes for Canadian league.

    • Matt Wincherauk

      AFL fits his talent level, and I know he wouldn’t fit in the CFL. And would I lose all credibility for one half-serious comment? You’re one tough customer.

      • Tom Caiazzo

        as far as the AFL being a league for guys a step or two below NFL level, no question. To be an AFL qb is very demanding. A qb must make quick decisions, have a quick release, and be very accurate, none of these are Tebow skills. As for the writer being held to a tough standard, that’s what we they should expect when they put their work out there for us to read. My goal when I read these articles is learn, or to have different factual perspectives offered for me to consider. Liked your answer. Happy to avoid some of the dreck that is too often seen in the comments.

        • Matt Wincherauk

          I am too, thanks a lot for reading!

  • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

    It is interesting to see how all the writers see the positional battles and the individual value of each player. Good article. The evaluations were insightful.

    I hope BB comes to his senses and cuts Tebow (he adds very little if any value to the team)

    The unimpressive play by both Wilsons may get Gregory added to the roster.

    Ras I-Dowling should not be placed on the IR again, always, if he is unable to play…..cut him loose.

    Hal, I have to disagree with you on Cunningham……I think he gets his walking papers.

    • Hal Bent

      Defensive end is a tough call, and you could well be right with Cunningham, Paul (I think almost everyone disagreed with me there, too!).
      The big reason I kept Cunningham on my 53 is he has shown a little (whether chemically enhanced or not!) when the games counted, over Bequette who seems to be invisible (even when he’s in the game, I only notice him when an offensive lineman blocks him out of the play).
      Thanks as always for the insightful comments, Paul. :)

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