Aug 28, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; New England Patriots quarterbackJimmy Garoppolo
(10) looks to pass the ball during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Panthers 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
With a flurry of moves the New England Patriots finished their roster to 75 in anticipation of facing the New York Giants on Thursday night in their final preseason game. After three preseason games it was clear what players were borderline roster players and who was a roster lock. Injuries and ineffectiveness made the initial moves for the Patriots had to make to get down fairly easy for them.
The Patriots even picked up two wide receivers to bolster their depleted group after Jonathan Krause was waived with an injury designation. After he passed through waivers, Krause joined Brian Tyms and Brandon Gibson on injured reserve. The disappointing 2013 fourth round draft pick wide receiver Josh Boyce was also waived with an injury designation and landed on injured reserve after being unclaimed.
To replace them the Patriots claimed wide receiver DaVaris Daniels from waivers from the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, they traded for wide receiver Jalen Saunders from the New Orleans Saints. Saunders–originally a fourth round draft pick of the New York Jets–returns to the AFC East and gives New England depth in the slot and help on kick and punt returns.
To get to 75 New England placed defensive tackle Chris Jones and linebacker Dane Fletcher on the PUP/Reserve list meaning they are out for at least the first six weeks of the 2015 season. Fullback James Develin was placed on season-ending injured reserve after breaking his leg last week against Carolina. The good news was that wide receiver Brandon LaFell was not put on the PUP/Reserve list giving hope he will be available early in the season.
The Patriots also placed rookie seventh-round draft pick Darryl Roberts on injured reserve after he had suffered a significant wrist injury in the first preseason game. Tight end Jimmay Mundine was let go earlier this week along with former 2013 starter on the defensive line, Joe Vellano. The other roster moves included the release of offensive lineman Chris Barker who was one of the final cuts last season and almost made the roster. With an impressive trio of rookies starting the first three preseason games there was little room for Barker. Finally, the Patriots also released linebacker D.J. Lynch who played just two snaps on defense in the preseason.
With just one game to go and most of the starters sitting, the final preseason game should give the New England coaching staff a final look at the players fighting for a spot on the final roster. WIth 22 players to be cut here is a look at the projected 53-man roster and what players I think will miss the cut and fight for a spot with another team or end up on a practice squad.
Next: Roster Projection for the Offense