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Patriots 53-man roster projection, version 1.0: Still a few spots up for grabs

Ryan Hannable
August 12, 2018 - 9:34 pm

With the first preseason game in the books, we have a little more information on the team than we did at the beginning of camp so we can put out our first official 53-man roster projection.

Of course a ton will change between now and Sept. 1, the date they needed to be finalized, but here’s our best guess to how things will go as of now.

Keep in mind the Patriots do not have any players on PUP, so no players will start the year on the list, which do not count towards the 53. Julian Edelman, who is suspended the first four weeks, also does not count towards the 53.

QUARTERBACK (2): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer

Hoyer hasn’t looked great by any means, but rookie Danny Etling hasn’t done enough to challenge him for the backup spot. Etling has had his best sessions of late as he seems more comfortable, so perhaps he could make a late run at Hoyer, but as of now we see Etling destined for the practice squad.

RUNNING BACK (5): James White, Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, Jeremy Hill, Brandon Bolden

The first three are locks and after Thursday’s game Hill may be a lock as well, especially since he played on special teams. Mike Gillislee appears to be the odd-man out, as Bolden gets the nod over him given how valued he is on special teams.

TIGHT END (4): Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister, James Develin

Develin is part of this group since he generally warms up with them. It’s pretty straight forward without many surprises. Will Tye is on the outside looking in, as Allen and Hollister haven’t done anything to say they are not deserving of a roster spot.

WIDE RECEIVER (5): Julian Edelman*, Chris Hogan, Eric Decker, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Matthew Slater

This may be the toughest position on roster and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this changes over the next several weeks. Hogan, Dorsett, Patterson and Slater are likely locks. Kenny Britt is left off just because he hasn’t been on the field yet as he recovers from a hamstring injury suffered in minicamp. We’re giving Decker the edge over Riley McCarron and Braxton Berrios as the youngsters haven’t done anything to standout thus far. But again, this likely will change come our next projection.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, LaAdrian Waddle, Isaiah Wynn, Ted Karras

Everything here is pretty much definitive except for the final spot. We went with Karras because of his versatility since he can play all three interior spots, including center. It’s also worth noting he didn’t make the initial 53-man roster last season and was slid on to the practice squad before soon getting promoted. Perhaps, they could do something like that again to get another player on to the roster the otherwise couldn't slip through waivers.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8): Trey Flowers, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown, Adrian Clayborn, Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Adam Butler

The first seven spots are pretty much locks and it will come down to Butler, Vincent Valentine and Geneo Grissom. Valentine could overtake Butler, but right now we see Butler having the edge. Grissom could sneak on if another core special teams player doesn’t make the team.

LINEBACKER (7): Dont’a Hightower, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Marquis Flowers, Nicholas Grisgby, Brandon King

This position isn’t that deep, which is why a lot of core special teams players get the nod. Bentley was very impressive in the preseason opener, but Roberts’ spot is likely safe just because of the lack of depth at the position. Keep an eye on rookie Christian Sam, as he was the last person to be left off.

CORNERBACK (7): Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, Cyrus Jones, Duke Dawson, J.C. Jackson

McCourty seems to be on the bubble since he didn’t play in the game and hasn’t seen that much 11-on-11 work in practices, but given his experience he’s needed at this position with a lot of young players around him. Ryan Lewis could figure into the mix, too, but right now we have him on the outside looking in. This is another position that could see some tweaking as the next few weeks go by.

SAFETY (4): Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner

We don’t have Jordan Richards on the roster because of the number of other core special teams players making it, and also Dawson has some experience playing safety so he could play there in a pinch.

SPECIALISTS (3): Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona, Stephen Gostkowski

Cardona and Gostowski are obviously locks and while undrafted rookie Corey Bojorquez has a monster leg, as of now we haven’t seen enough that would have him make the roster over Allen. Allen has received the majority of the practice reps and saw all the action in the first preseason game.

Related: Sunday 7: Is Jason McCourty in danger of being cut?