New England Patriots: 53-man roster cut down analysis
By Hal Bent
DEFENSIVE TACKLES (4)
Malcom Brown, Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton
There were some rumblings about Brown after Guy seemed to be the starter in the preseason next to Shelton. That said, it may have been more about limiting tape of Brown and Shelton together before Week 1.
Guy will play plenty, especially when the Patriots have a lead and opponents give up on the running game. Butler beat out third-round pick Vincent Valentine. Valentine is on the practice squad in case of injury but Butler added size this offseason and should have an impact as a designated interior pass rusher again.
DEFENSIVE ENDS (6)
Adrian Clayborn, Keionta Davis, Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise
It was a surprise to see both Davis and Grissom on the roster. I still would not be surprised to see either cut prior to Week 1 to get another tackle on the roster. Grissom is a key special-teams player and actually looked good playing on the edge and at linebacker in the preseason.
Davis missed all of last season with a neck injury and his ability to create pressure throughout the summer and into the preseason from the edge made him almost impossible to cut. He will have to contribute on special teams to stick on the roster.
Trey Flowers was held out of the preseason games (it could not be due just to a facial laceration that needed a few stitches) and his return should happen in Week 1.
Flowers and Clayborn are similar players in that they hold the edge against the run and create pressure consistently without piling up gaudy sack numbers. Rivers and Wise look promising as pass rushers on passing downs in 2018.