Nov 24, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the Denver Broncos in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection 1.0

It is that time of year again.

Time to attempt the impossible. Predict Bill Belichick’s final 53-man roster. Rarely does anybody get this right, but that is part of the fun. There are a lot of interesting positional battles that we will have to watch when the New England Patriots open up training camp, and many of them will affect the final cuts.

Here we go:

Quarterbacks: (3)

Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo

I don’t think there will be much debate here. The Pats tried to move Mallett earlier in the offseason, but no one wanted to take the risk. So it looks like Mallett will be playing out the last year of his contract in Foxboro.

Running Backs: (5)

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, James White, Brandon Bolden, James Develin

This is another position that looks to be set as we move towards training camp. Ridley and Vereen are firmly entrenched as the starters, while Bolden and White will be fighting for that valuable third spot. The Patriots are stacked in the backfield, and I think they will have a productive 2014 season.

Wide Receivers: (7)

Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins, Brandon LaFell, Matthew Slater

Seven may seem like a big number for the wide receivers group, but let’s remember that Slater really isn’t a wideout. He is one of the best special teams players in the league, but rarely plays on offense. So it really is six receivers kept, which I feel is a good number. Boyce and Thompkins will have to fight with rookie Jeremy Gallon for that final spot, but ultimately, I don’t think Gallon brings enough to the table to slide in on the final roster.

Tight Ends: (3)

Rob Gronkowski, Justin Jones, Michael Hoomanawanui

The only really debate here is Jones, or fellow rookie Asa Watson. I don’t know much about either of these two, but Jones’ amazing physical traits have me thinking that he can just edge Watson for a spot on this team. Hopefully Gronk’s knee is healthy enough for him to start week one. If not, Hooman will be trying to lead this bunch for a little while.

Offensive Line: (8)

Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Bryan Stork, Jon Halapio, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming

Dan Connolly will be on the outside looking in come September, as I think he will be pushed out by Stork, and Halapio. Connolly is getting way too much money right now, and when you combine that with his declining productivity, he will be out of New England soon. Wendell will barely sneak in, because I don’t think Bill Belichick is comfortable handing the center position over to a rookie right now. But Stork will certainly push the veteran.

Defensive Line: (10)

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Chris Jones, Dominique Easley, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Sealver Siliga, Michael Buchanan, Will Smith, Zach Moore

An underrated aspect of this Pats defense is the front four. They are talented, and there is plenty of quality depth this time around. Wilfork and Kelly are the tough veterans, while Easley and Jones bring that young explosiveness that they desperately need. It is tough leaving Armond Armstead off of this list, but we honestly haven’t seen the guy for so long, I can’t bring myself to give him a spot. If he proves he has the talent to make the team in camp, then I will have to revise this. But until then, he is off the team.

Linebackers: (5)

Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Steve Beaharnais, James Anderson

A talented, but thin position. Beaharnais and Anderson are the only two guys that I think have enough skill to backup the starting trio, which is something that may end up hurting New England in 2014.

Cornerbacks: (5)

Darrelle Revis, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Justin Green

Brandon Browner is suspended for the first four games of the season, so that is why he isn’t currently on this projection. The only debate here is putting Justin Green in, and I am really 50-50 on this. But I have liked what I have seen from Green in the past, particularly last preseason, where he impressed me with his tight man coverage skills. He may not get a lot of playing time with this group, but he will earn a spot on this team.

Safeties: (4)

Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Jemea Thomas, Patrick Chung

The only reason I am including Chung here is because the Pats can’t go into the season with only three safeties (two of them very young), and he will probably only be on the field in garbage time. But other than that, this is a good, solid position for the Patriots.

Special Teams: (3)

Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Aiken, Ryan Allen

Nothing new here. Very stable group heading into the regular season.

Want more from Musket Fire?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix.
Enter your email and stay in the know.

Tags: Bill Belichick New England Patriots

comments powered by Disqus