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

Ryan Hannable
May 28, 2019 - 10:54 pm
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With the Patriots kicking off their second week of OTAs on Wednesday (closed to media), 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 come Week 1.

We put players into three categories — locks, bubble players and long shots. Since it is still the spring, 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 later in the summer.

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

QUARTERBACK

Lock (2): Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham

Bubble (2): Danny Etling, Brian Hoyer

The Patriots aren’t going to cut a quarterback they selected in the fourth round or keep four quarterbacks, which means it will come down to Hoyer and Etling. Based on what we saw last week in the media’s first OTA session of the spring, Etling has a long way to go to overtake Hoyer as Brady’s backup.

RUNNING BACK

Lock (4): James Develin, Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White

Bubble (2): Brandon Bolden, Rex Burkhead

Long shot (2): Nick Brossette, Jakob Johnson

Bolden and Burkhead are basically locks, but there is a slim chance for both that they would be cut, which is why they are in the bubble category. It’s likely six players (including Develin) will be kept at the position. Johnson is part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and the Patriots will get a 11th player on their practice squad, including him.

WIDE RECEIVER

Lock (4): Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Matthew Slater

Bubble (5): Braxton Berrios, Maurice Harris, Dontrelle Inman, Demaryius Thomas, Jakobi Meyers

Long shot (3): Ryan Davis, Gunner Olszewski, Damoun Patterson

It’s very likely the final roster spot at the position will come down to Berrios, Harris, Inman, Thomas and Meyers, although it’s worth noting Thomas is a good possibility to start the year on PUP. This has the potential to be one of the most competitive positions on the entire team.

TIGHT END

Lock (2): Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ben Watson

Bubble (4): Stephen Anderson, Andrew Beck, Ryan Izzo, Matt LaCosse

With Watson’s suspension Seferian-Jenkins is a lock and then it will come down to the other four bubble players. Watson doesn’t count towards the 53-man roster for the first four weeks, but perhaps the team will only keep two right away knowing Watson will be back after the first month.

OFFENSIVE LINE

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

Bubble (6): Cole Croston, James Ferentz, Hjalte Froholdt, Ted Karras, Cedrick Lang, Brian Schwenke

Long shot (3): Tyler Gauthier, Dan Skipper, Tyree St. Louis

The battles here will be for the backup interior spot and then the swing tackle spot. With the recent retirement of Jared Veldheer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team add a veteran tackle between now and training camp. On the inside, the final roster spot could come down to Ferentz, Froholdt and Karras.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Lock (6): Michael Bennett, Lawrence Guy, Mike Pennell, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Deatrich Wise

Bubble (7): Adam Butler, Byron Cowart, Keionta Davis, Trent Harris, Ufomba Kamalu, Derek Rivers, Danny Shelton

Long shot (2): David Parry, Nick Thurman

This position will come down to how many players the team decides to keep. There’s the potential to go lower on numbers here and more at linebacker given how versatile some of the players there are. Right now, of the bubble players we like Butler, Rivers and Shelton having the best chance of making the team.

LINEBACKER

Lock (4): Ja'Whaun Bentley, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon King, Kyle Van Noy

Bubble (4): Jamie Collins, Terez Hall, Elandon Roberts, Christian Sam

Long shot (2): Shilique Calhoun, Calvin Munson

Linebacker is one of the most competitive and deepest positions on the entire team. Collins and Roberts are listed as bubble players, but it would be an upset if they didn’t make the team. The final spot at the position could come down to Hall and Sam, both young players.

CORNERBACK

Lock (4): Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams

Bubble (3): Keion Crossen, Duke Dawson, Jason McCourty

Long shot (2): D'Angelo Ross, Ken Webster

The Patriots will in all likelihood keep six cornerbacks, which means it will come down to Crossen or Dawson for the final spot. Dawson was a second-round pick last year, so it would seem he has a slight edge, but based on the depth chart last year Crossen was viewed higher.

SAFETY

Lock (4): Terrence Brooks, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty

Bubble (3): Nate Ebner, A.J. Howard, Obi Melifonwu

Long shot (1): Malik Gant

The biggest question with this position is how many special teamers come from it. Brooks feels like a lock, which means Ebner could be on the bubble for the first time in several years. Melifonwu is a question mark too, but the team should have a decent read on him given he spent the end of last year with the team.

SPECIALISTS

Lock (2): Joe Cardona, Stephen Gostkowski

Bubble (2): Ryan Allen, Jake Bailey

Allen and Bailey will be one of the most intriguing battles of the summer, as the rookie was extremely impressive in last week’s OTA session, displaying a massive leg generating tons of hang time. Allen only signed a one-year deal this offseason so the team very well could part ways at the end of the summer.

Related: Do Patriots have chance at landing veteran DT Gerald McCoy?