5 players who won't be on the Patriots' 53-man roster come Week 1

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Nick Folk

This could be more debatable than the others since Nick Folk provides veteran assurance in special teams that may be needed as the Patriots try to forget how poorly the unit performed last season. However, Chad Ryland has continuously performed well beyond expectations and could very easily lock up the starting position this summer.

Since joining the team in 2019, Folk has been one of if not the most consistent players on the Patriots team, regardless of position. He filled the void left by Stephen Gostkowski, and although he was apparently not meant to remain on the team long-term, his performance kept him from going elsewhere over the last four seasons.

But some of that changed last season, when he missed five field goals in total, becoming his most misses in New England. That may become a trend, as he will be turning 39 mid-season.

Other than a possible decline in performance, there's a reason Bill Belichick traded up to select Ryland in the draft. As one of the best of the 2023 class, the head coach knows he needed to prioritize the position overall, especially after an uncharacteristically poor outing by the special teams in 2022.

If the rookie can continue to shine through the remainder of the preseason, it's fair to assume Folk will be on the outs if not sent to the practice squad.