4 risks the Patriots are taking with their final 53-man roster

Will these risks be worth it in the end?
New England Patriots v Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots v Tennessee Titans / Silas Walker/GettyImages
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...And just two running backs as well

The same question goes for the running back room.

Rhamondre Stevenson has always been the starter on the team, leaving all others competing for the backup role. It looked to be mainly between second-year players Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr., but J.J. Taylor had stepped up in the preseason finale and gave the impression he may have finally won the job.

Then there was Ty Montgomery, who has dealt with injuries since he was signed last year, but because of his versatile skillset, it felt like he would be an easy roster lock.

A lot of that changed when Ezekiel Elliott was signed earlier in August. He immediately became the RB2 behind Stevenson, forming an iconic running back duo that the Patriots have been lacking. However, even with his addition to the team, it was unlikely that Belichick would go ahead with just two running backs on the roster.

And to our surprise, that's exactly what he's done.

First, he traded Strong Jr. to the Browns for an offensive lineman. Because of what the Patriots received in return, it wasn't an entirely shocking move. It was more surprising that the decision was made to move on from a promising second-year player.

Then came the roster cuts, which included all of the remaining running backs besides Elliott and Stevenson, thus ensuring the 53-man roster only carried two running backs.

Given the question marks surrounding Elliott's abilities at this point in his career and the higher risk of injury players at the position face, Belichick deciding to stick with just two runners is quite a risky move. It may end up working out, and they do have Harris and Montgomery on the practice squad in case it doesn't. But it's a significant gamble that the Patriots are apparently willing to go with.