New England Patriots: Pre-Camp 53-Man Roster Projection

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady /
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HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady /

Quarterback – 3

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Jimmy Garoppolo
  3. Jacoby Brissett

As you would expect, Tom Brady will lead the Patriots into their Week 1 regular season opener versus the Kansas City Chiefs. At this point in his career, it seems like it would take the unimaginable to knock Brady from New England’s starting passer spot. If something were to go awry at the position, sure enough, Jimmy Garoppolo remains in the fold for one more season as a premium backup.

Running Back – 5

  1. Mike Gillislee
  2. James White
  3. Rex Burkhead
  4. D.J. Foster
  5. Brandon Bolden

Dion Lewis enters the final year of his contract this fall and his inconsistent track record hasn’t warranted an extension. Injuries have lessened Lewis’ role over the past two seasons and question marks remain regarding his reliability. While his play during the 2015 season and 2016 Divisional Round was impressive, Lewis may have already reached his ceiling in New England.

Second-year running back D.J. Foster has gained attention throughout the Patriots’ OTAs and minicamp. Although he didn’t see the field often, he did earn a roster spot as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016. Foster is under contract with New England for two more seasons and his showing in camp thus far provides a strong indication of his upside. Like Lewis, he is a viable option as a receiving back and holds special teams value as a returner. Rather than risk losing Foster on waivers, the Patriots would be wise to keep him for seasons to come.

Brandon Bolden earns a nod as a core member of the Patriots special teams unit. Though he’s listed as a running back, Bolden has the size and hitting power of a strong safety.