New England Patriots roster: 30 roster locks
20. Cyrus Jones
Look, the Patriots wouldn’t draft a cornerback with their first selection and then proceed to cut him. Bill Belichick did his due diligence on researching Jones, and the speedy defensive back figures to be the Patriots’ slot corner in 2016. He also could carve out a role for himself as a punt returner (he had four touchdowns in 2015).
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19. Chris Long
The Patriots’ shedding of Chandler Jones and addition of Long in such quick succession indicates that they have no plans to cut the veteran defensive end. Now, don’t expect Long to rekindle his 2012-2013 stardom, as his four sacks over the past two seasons are worrying. But a change of scenery and a renewed focus on winning will reignite Long.
18. Tre’ Jackson
A dependable and upward-tracking guard, Jackson can rest assured he won’t get cut in his sophomore season even after the offseason additions of Jonathan Cooper, Joe Thuney and Ted Karras.
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17. Shaq Mason
Like Jackson, Mason is too promising of a second-year guard to even fathom cutting. He’s one of the NFL’s better run blockers.
16. Jimmy Garoppolo
Not only will Garoppolo make the final roster in his third season with the Patriots, but he is also currently slated to start in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.
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