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Patriots 90-man roster breakdown: Locks, bubble players, long shots

Ryan Hannable
July 31, 2018 - 7:54 am
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With the Patriots having their first off-day of training camp this summer on Tuesday, we figured it would be a good time to take an extensive look at the roster when it comes to players’ chances of making the final 53-man roster.

We put players into three categories — locks, bubble players and long shots. Since it is so early in camp, players who are on the bubble could be players who have only a slim chance of making the team, or have even the slightest chance of getting cut. 

It's simply too early to do a 53-man roster projection and we'll save that for after a preseason game is played.

Here’s how things look by position (players are in alphabetical order).

QUARTERBACK (3)

Lock (1): Tom Brady

Bubble (2): Danny Etling, Brian Hoyer

Right now, it looks like Hoyer will be the backup and the team will potentially look to have Etling on the practice squad. The rookie has really struggled thus far and if he continues to do so in the preseason games, the team may even need to potentially look for another quarterback.

RUNNING BACK (8)

Lock (4): Rex Burkhead, James Develin, Sony Michel, James White

Bubble (3): Brandon Bolden, Mike Gillislee, Jeremy Hill

Long shot (1): Ralph Webb

It would seem like Bolden’s special teams value will get him onto the team once again and the final spot may come down to Gillislee or Hill. They both do the same type of thing so it may be tough to keep both on the roster.

TIGHT END (6)

Lock (2): Dwayne Allen, Rob Gronkowski

Bubble (2): Jacob Hollister, Will Tye

Long shot (2): Ryan Izzo, Shane Wimann

Allen has had a strong few days which is why we have him as a lock. Hollister has been very impressive thus far and barring something unforeseen, it appears like it will be Allen, Gronkowski and Hollister. The team does seem to like Tye and would probably want to keep him on the practice squad if possible.

WIDE RECEIVER (12)

Lock (4): Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, Matthew Slater

Bubble (6): Braxton Berrios, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Jordan Matthews, Riley McCarron, Malcolm Mitchell

Long shot (2): Devin Lucien, Paul Turner

This position is arguably the most interesting on the entire roster. Edelman’s four-game suspension adds another layer to things as he won’t count towards the active roster the first four weeks. The team could potentially keep an extra running back or tight end in his place if they don't like any of the receivers No. 5 or 6 on the depth chart. Dorsett is more of a lock now, especially with Britt and Matthews struggling to stay on the field through the first week. McCarron or Berrios could make the team as punt returners, but if either of them don’t, look for them to potentially stick around on the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE (15)

Lock (6): David Andrews, Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn

Bubble (5): Cole Croston, James Ferentz, Ted Karras, Matt Tobin, LaAdrian Waddle

Long shot (4): Luke Bowanko, Ulrick John, Jason King, Nate Theaker

Waddle and Tobin likely are battling for the swing tackle spot and then depending on numbers at other positions, Croston and Karras could be competing with one another for the final spot. These two are also potential practice squad candidates along with Ferentz.

DEFENSIVE LINE (14)

Lock (7): Malcom Brown, Adrian Clayborn, Trey Flowers, Lawrence Guy, Derek Rivers, Danny Shelton, Deatrich Wise Jr.

Bubble (4): John Atkins, Adam Butler, Geneo Grissom, Vincent Valentine

Long shot (3): Keionta Davis, Trent Harris, Frank Herron

This is turning into the deepest position on the entire roster as Shelton and Wise have been among the most impressive players in all of camp through five practices. It would seem like one of Butler, Grissom and Valentine will make the team with the other two let go.

LINEBACKER (10)

Lock (2): Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy

Bubble (8): Ja'Whaun Bentley, Marquis Flowers, Nicholas Grigsby, Brandon King, Harvey Langi, Eric Lee, Elandon Roberts, Christian Sam

Roberts probably should be in the lock category, but we kept him on the bubble in case of a surprise cut. A lot of what happens at this position is how many strictly special teams players the team wants to carry, as that is pretty much what Grigsby and King are. With good preseasons, rookies Bentley and Sam have a real chance at making the team. The team could go a number of different ways at this position, so really every day is important for everyone.

CORNERBACK (11)

Lock (4): Duke Dawson, Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Eric Rowe

Bubble (4): Keion Crossen, J.C. Jackson, Cyrus Jones, Jason McCourty

Long shot (3): Ryan Lewis, A.J. Moore, Jomal Wiltz

McCourty is probably a lock as well, but given he didn’t play much at all during the spring we can’t put him there yet. Cyrus Jones could add value to himself by impressing as a punt returner this summer. Crossen and Jackson are both extremely talented as undrafted rookies, but it seems the only way they would have a shot is injury to someone above them. Both seem like potential practice squad candidates, though.

SAFETY (7)

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

Bubble (2): Eddie Pleasant, Jordan Richards

Long shot (1): Damarius Travis

This may be the most set position on the team. Depending on if the team goes heavy at other positions, there’s a scenario where both Pleasant and Richards could be cut. Richards is a little ahead of Pleasant at this point, but things can change once the preseason games begin.

SPECIALISTS (4)

Lock (2): Joe Cardona, Stephen Gostkowski

Bubble (2): Ryan Allen, Corey Bojorquez

There is a real punter competition as it could come down to the last week of the preseason. The two got their first real exposure Monday kicking inside the stadium and appeared very evenly matched. We’ll likely know more after the first or second preseason game.

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