Here is my first Patriots roster projection of the year…
Quarterback: (2) Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett
No Tom Brady for the first four weeks of the season, but he will return after that, and he will return with a vengeance.
Running Back: (5) Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, James White, James Develin
There is a chance the roster spot that Tom Brady leaves open will go to a sixth running back, but Donald Brown or D.J. Foster will have to really impress in the preseason for that to happen. The Pats have a solid stable of backs this year, assuming Lewis is healthy and ready to go.
Tight End: (3) Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, Clay Harbor
The combination of Gronk and Bennett is going to be unstoppable this year, particularly in the red zone. I can’t wait to see Brady work with that duo.
Wide Receiver: (5) Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Keshawn Martin
Nothing really surprising here. I think Edelman and Amendola will be returning from the PUP list shortly, and Hogan and Mitchell have already established themselves in camp. The fifth spot is up for grabs, but I still think Martin is the favorite to land the job. He proved last season that he can produce when needed in the slot, and he has built up a nice rapport with Brady. Aaron Dobson has done none of that in the three years he has been in New England.
Offensive Line: (11) Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Shaq Mason, Josh Kline, Bryan Stork, David Andrews, Joe Thuney, Jonathan Cooper, Marcus Cannon, La’Adrian Waddle, Ted Karras
Injuries are really going to play a huge part in who makes the final cut along the offensive line. Cooper, Vollmer and Stork are all currently dealing with injuries, and if any of them linger, they could all start the season on the PUP list. But with that said, the Pats are deep on the inside this year, so if injuries do hit, they will be prepared.