New England Patriots: Final 53-man roster projection

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 25: Chris Hogan (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 25: Chris Hogan (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 19: Tom Brady (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Quarterback (3)

  • Tom Brady
  • Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Jacoby Brissett

Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo can rest easy knowing their jobs are safe. The Patriots can rest easy knowing they have Jacoby Brissett in the fold in case Garoppolo leaves Foxborough in free agency next March.

Brady will open New England’s regular season for the first time since 2015 while Garoppolo serves as his backup, occasionally stepping in during garbage time to finish blow out games.

Running Back (5)

  • Mike Gillislee
  • Rex Burkhead
  • James White
  • Dion Lewis
  • Brandon Bolden

Mike Gillislee will take over ex-Patriot running back LeGarrette Blount’s role as the team’s power runner and goal line back. Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis have the ability to contribute in the ground game, as receivers, and on special teams. Their involvement on offense will differ on a week-to-week basis, all depending on the game plan.

With the subtraction of wide receiver Julian Edelman from New England’s passing attack, running back James White, who was targeted 86 times in 2016, will be utilized as a receiver out of the backfield on passing downs.

Choosing between Brandon Bolden and D.J. Foster is where things get difficult. Foster cracked the Patriots’ 53-man roster last season and continued to improve over the course of the summer. Like White, as a capable pass-catching running back, Foster’s value was boosted by the loss of Edelman. Bolden, however, as a veteran, has the experience with New England’s system, bond with quarterback Tom Brady, and valued special teams prowess worthy of the final running back spot.