New England Patriots: 53-man Roster Projection

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Aug 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen (34) celebrates a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Soriano:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Leon Washington (5)

All of these running backs are talented and bring something else to the table. I mean, do you really want to cut a great returner with solid hands like Washington or a consistent, talented RB in Bolden? My answer is “heck no”.

Matt Wincherauk:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden (4)

Ridley and Vereen are locks, and Blount has played his way onto the roster. Bolden has quite a bit of talent, so I don’t want to see him gone. The big one is Leon Washington. He hasn’t shown anything returning kicks, and it looks like Edelman and Boyce could take his spot, and run with it.

Gary Wolff:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount, Leon Washington (5)

The Patriots will carry five backs this season: All five backs are quality players and all five backs will get playing time.  In spite of the presence of Blount, and in spite of putting the ball on the ground in the Detroit game, Brandon Bolden shows too much potential to let him walk.  He’d be picked up quickly by another team.  Even if the Patriots want to carry only four running backs, I believe they would keep Bolden on the roster and then trade him when another team with an injury comes calling.

Chris Martin:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Leon Washington (4)

This was tough cut, but Bolden is cut here as well. I think Blount has shown specials teams use, and Bolden is let go.

Chris Simoneau:

Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington, LeGarrette Blount (5)

The Patriots are running back-rich, and every single one of them should contribute in some way. Leon Washington’ special teams skills make him flexible and help him make the team.

Cyrus Gellar:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount, Leon Washington (5)

Much of the talk surrounding the running backs lately, has been concerning Leon Washington and Brandon Bolden. It appears that both of these players are on the bubble, and a lot of fans think that they are competing for the fourth sport among the tailbacks. However I think that both of them are valuable to New England, even though neither has had a very good preseason.

Celia Westbrook:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington, LaGarette Blount, James Develin (5)

Nothing gets coach Bill Belichick more frustrated than a player missing the importance of the message of “ball security”. Ridley knows the message very well, and Vereen got to have a taste of the message during the Detroit Lions game. However, these two are very much a lock, but I don’t think Brandon Bolden will get the “pardon”; his lack of consistence and now an injury are factors that are not helping him secure a roster spot. Although we haven’t seen much of Develin, he has now shown some value in the blocking and running game. He is certainly worth keeping.

Chris Field:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Leon Washington (4)

If we’re going by preseason performance, Blount has the easy edge over Bolden. While I do like what Blount has to offer, I wouldn’t put him on the active roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if another team tries to snatch him up if cut, so here’s to hoping he comes down with a case of Foxboro Flu and makes it to IR.

“Fullback”: Michael Hoomanawanui (1)

More of a tight end/fullback hybrid, but I’d include him over Develin right now. He brings versatility.

Hal Bent:

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, James Develin, Leon Washington (6)

With a young core of wide receivers and injury risks with Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots have an opportunity to run the ball at opponents in a manner not seen in Foxboro, MA since Cincinnati Bengals cast-off Corey Dillon was lugging the rock. Ridley and Vereen are the “starters”, but expect to see Blount and Bolden to get at least five carries each per contest.  Washington is the only other true third-down running back other than Vereen, and his value as a Kevin Faulk “lite” in the locker room and his ability to return kicks and back-up Julian Edelman on punt returns on special teams carries him onto the roster. I also have James Develin in the mix as well.  Develin costs half as much as Michael Hoomanawanui and would effectively take his role as blocking back in the running game. With Sudfeld making a play for playing time at tight end, it makes another (higher-cost) tight end expendable and opens a spot for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to finally get the fullback he wants on the roster.