After the 2017 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots have been rounding out their roster. How are they looking at on the defensive side of the ball?
The New England Patriots initial 90-man roster includes 41 defensive players and three specialists. Here is the breakdown of each position:
Defensive End (7): Trey Flowers, Kony Ealy, Rob Ninkovich, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise Jr., Geneo Grissom, Corey Vereen
After losing Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long in free agency, the Patriots took Rivers and Wise in the third and fourth round respectively. Trey Flowers will look to continue his solid 2016 campaign along with newcomer Kony Ealy.
Defensive tackle (8): Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Vincent Valentine, Lawrence Guy, Woodrow Hamilton, Darius Kilgo, Adam Butler, Josh Augusta
The Patriots prioritized Branch during free agency after an impressive 2016 season. Guy was also added from Baltimore along with two undrafted free agents (Butler, Augusta).
Linebacker (8): Dont’a Hightower, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, Shea McClellin, Jonathon Freeny, Harvey Langi, Trevor Bates, Brooks Ellis
After exploring free agent options, Hightower resigned with New England to a four-year, $43.5 million deal. Langi is already a trendy undrafted free agent pick to make the 53-man roster. The BYU product was given the highest bonus of any Patriot UDFA with $115,000 guaranteed.
Cornerback (9): Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Justin Coleman, Cyrus Jones, Jonathon Jones, D.J. Kilings, Dwayne Thomas, Kenny Moore
The first splash in free agency by the Patriots was signing pro-bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the Buffalo Bills. After exploring options in free agency, Butler signed his restricted free agent tender, giving the Patriots one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL.
Safety (9): Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards, Nate Ebner, Brandon King, Jason Thompson, David Jones, Damarius Travis
Harmon was resigned to a new deal in the offseason as he will continue to provide quality, dependable depth behind McCourty and Chung. Ebner and King will remain strictly special teamers while eyes will be on Jordan Richards, whose playing time significantly dipped last season.
Kicker (1): Stephon Gostkowski
A trick shot kicker named Josh Gable was brought in to rookie minicamp this past week. The Patriots sometimes use two kickers to lighten the preseason load.
Punter (1): Ryan Allen
Allen remains the lone punter on the team, and appears he won’t be going anywhere after a strong 2016 season.
Long snapper (1): Joe Cardona
No competition here either, as Cardona enters his third year with the Patriots.