New England Patriots: 53-man Roster Projection

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Aug 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Cory Grissom (67) attempts to tackle Philadelphia Eagles running back Matthew Tucker (39) during the second half of a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Patriots won 31-22. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Soriano:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Cory Grissom, Marcus Forston (4)

It looks like Armond Armstead will be hitting the PUP with an infection that has kept him out for three preseason games, and defensive tackle is a tough position to predict. While Joe Vellano seems to be high on the depth chart after starting in Wilfork’s absence, I think he has the easiest time making the practice squad. The Maryland UDFA was terrific in the first two preseason games, but it is clear to me that he isn’t as talented as Grissom or Forston. I’ll take that duo, because Forston can fill in for Armstead as a pass rusher and the Pats need another run-stopping DT (that’s where Grissom comes in). I think those two DTs are more talented than Vellano, and I’m a sucker for pure talent.


Matt Wincherauk:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano, Marcus Forston (4)

Big Vince is a lock, and now that he’s proven to be able to run alongside side Vince, Tommy Kelly is also a lock. Forston has had a nice preseason, but Vellano has been the one to really force his way onto the team.

Gary Wolff:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano, Marcus Forston (4)

Tommy Kelly is looking very good.  Joe Vellano holds his ground extremely well even when double teamed.  He looks like a player.  Armond Armstead will be on PUP, and may be a factor later in the season.

Chris Martin:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Cory Grissom, Marcus Forston, Joe Vellano (5)

I went with these five after Vellano got the start and helped stop the run. It’s good to know we have some depth at this position.

Chris Simoneau:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston, Armond Armstead (4)

Old stalwart Vince Wilfork has been looking for a partner in crime for about four seasons, and Tommy Kelly looks like the guy the Patriots and Wilfork have hoped for. Marcus Forston has worked his way from roster long shot in 2012 to rotational player in 2013. Armond Armstead has missed the beginning of camp, but there is still time for him to get back to practice and make an impact. This is another position that will be represented on the practice squad.

Cyrus Gellar:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano, Marcus Forston

This is easily the weakest link in terms of depth on the Patriots 2013 roster. I loved what I saw from rookie Joe Vellano last week against Detroit, and I believe Marcus Forston can bring more to the table in terms of overall defense than fellow lineman Cory Grissom. That is why I gave Forston the nod over Grissom.

Celia Westbrook:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston, Joe Vellano (4)

There’s no doubt Kelly works so well with Wilfork and Forston is ready to get this show going. Unfortunately for Armond Armstead, his non-football illness has truly put him behind the schedule which is causing him to miss the defense train; giving Vellano a chance to show how explosive he can be.

Chris Field:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston, Joe Vellano (4)

Wilfork and Kelly are obvious choices, and Forston’s played well in the preseason. Vellano has also played well in the preseason – too well, in fact, to risk another team picking him up if/when he gets cut. The problem with Vellano is that he’s redundant – far more of a run stopper than a penetrating tackle a la Kelly. This is the same problem the Patriots had when they carried Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick for two years. As such, I still believe that the Patriots will add another defensive tackle before the season starts to tide the team over until Armond Armstead comes back.

Hal Bent:

Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston, Joe Vellano (4)

Joe Vellano wins by default for the fourth defensive lineman until Armond Armstead is healthy enough to play (likely to be put on PUP list). Vellano has shade of former Patriots undersized defensive tackle Mike Wright.  Cory Grissom has the size to be a defensive tackle, but is likely ticketed to the practice squad. Forston has cemented a role in the rotation, and Kelly looks to be everything the team hoped for at the spot next to Wilfork.