Thursday, July 24, 2014

New England Patriots' Projected 54 Man Roster

The following is a rolling 54 man roster that will be updated as situations warrant.  Generally there are but 53 players on an active NFL roster, but the Patriots have received an exemption from the NFL to carry an extra player in advance of Brandon Browner's four game suspension to begin the season.  When Browner is reinstated for Week 5, he will be added to the active roster and the 54th man will be waived or an injured player can be placed on the IR.

Quarterbacks (2)

12 - Tom Brady
10 - Jimmy Garoppolo (R)

Yes, only two quarterbacks.  This is not to say that Ryan Mallett will be traded, but the fact that he was limited in OTAs and in minicamp and is wearing a brace on his left knee is a curious development.  It is entirely possible that he begin the season on the PUP list, then either be activated just before the trade deadline or shut down for the season.  He is in camp and still wearing the brace, so it is a situation to monitor.

Running Backs (5)

22 - Stevan Ridley
34 - Shane Vereen
28 - James White (R)
36 - Stephen Houston (R)
46 - James Develin 

With contracts coming due on Ridley, Vereen and Brandon Bolden, it goes to figure that the Patriots are not going to be able to negotiate contracts for all three, so dumping Bolden now and training replacements for the other two is just smart business - though it is possible that Ridley and Vereen could be around beyond this year if their price is right.  Develin is looking more and more like a classic H-Back with his versatility.

Tight Ends (3)

87 - Rob Gronkowski 
47 - Michael Hoomanawanui 
45 - D. J. Williams

Gronkowski appears to be on track for the start of the season, which clears up the tight end picture a bit.  While Gronk is an all-around force, Hooman is a decent blocker and has shown good hands in his few targets, while Williams has yet to realize the potential that intrigued the Packers into drafting him as a "move" tight end.  Rookie free agent Justin Jones will probably find himself stashed away on the practice squad to refine his raw skill and potential. H-back James Develin factors in here as well.

Receivers (7)

80 - Danny Amendola 
11 - Julian Edelman 
17 - Aaron Dobson 
19 - Brandon Lafell  
85 - Kenbrell Thompkins  
18 - Matthew Slater 
82 - Josh Boyce

The status of Dobson's foot and the thought that his conditioning will be an issue upon his return may upset this apple cart, otherwise, this is a solid group with a good mix of individual skill sets.  New addition Lafell is a veteran who understands coverages and where the sticks are, and could be in the mix at the "move" type tight end position.  Boyce and Slater figure prominently on special teams as well.

Offensive Linemen (8)

77 - Nate Solder 
70 - Logan Mankins
76 - Sebatian Vollmer 
61 - Marcus Cannon
67 - Josh Kline
71 - Cameron Fleming (R)   
69 - Jon Halapio (R) 
66 - Bryan Stork (R) 

Noticeably absent from this list are last season's starting center and right guard, Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly - but either could stick as depth should the Patriots decide to keep nine linemen.  Stork should start from Day one, as should Halapio with Fleming and Cannon providing depth on the bookends and at guard in a pinch.

Defensive linemen (9)

50 - Rob Ninkovich 
75 - Vince Wilfork 
93 - Tommy Kelly 
95 - Chandler Jones 
99 - Michael Buchanan
74 - Dominique Easley (R) 
94 - Chris Jones 
96 - Sealver Siliga
90 - Will Smith 

The duo of Wilfork and Siliga at the nose and the trifecta of Kelly, Chris Jones and Easley at the three-tech make the interior of the defensive line formidable, but questions remain regarding the depth at the ends.  Ninkovich and Chandler Jones form a strong set of bookends, but it remains to be seen if Smith's knee can hold up and if Buchanan has gotten his strength back after a broken jaw two years ago sapped much of it along with 30 pounds.  Hightower also figures in on the line as a five-tech nickle rusher.

Linebackers (6)

54 - Dont'a Hightower 
91 - Jamie Collins 
51 - Jerod Mayo 
45 - Steve Beauharnais
44 - Darius Fleming
55 - James Anderson

It is possible that the veteran Smith could double up on the roster at both end and strong side linebacker but a lot depends on the status of his wheels after recovering from ACL surgery nearly a year ago.  If he can,it may mean that someone like Fleming won't make the cut.  Anderson is an all-around veteran talent that adds a lot of versatility to the scheme.The coaching staff likes Beauharnais a lot, and he is also versatile enough to play in the middle or on the weak side.

Corners (6)

24 - Darrelle Revis 
39 - Brandon Browner 
26 - Logan Ryan 
37 - Alfonzo Dennard 
25 - Kyle Arrington 
35 - Daxton Swanson

Swanson is a wild card, and wins out over fellow rookie Malcolm Butler for the sixth corner spot.  Regardless of who actually wins out in camp, the top five corners won't allow for many snaps to Swanson or whomever - that is, once Browner returns to the team in week five.

Safeties (5)

30 - Duron Harmon  
32 - Devin McCourty  
23 - Patrick Chung  
21 - Jemea Thomas (R)  
27 - Tavon Wilson 

Solid group of safeties, with Chung brought back to be that intimidating presence in the middle in the nickle and dime situations.  Thomas is a versatile athlete that is probably a better corner than safety, though he played both in college.  In fact, should Thomas find a spot on the roster, his presence could eliminate one of the listed corners and make room for a player at another level - such as another tight end, safety or defensive lineman.

Specialists (3)

6 - Ryan Allen 
3 - Stephen Gostkowski 
48 - Danny Aiken

Aiken wins out over Tyler Ott in the competition for long snapper, though Aiken will probably be on a short leash after his late season air mail struggles.  Allen and Gostkowski are as dependable as they come.

Offense: 25
Defense: 26
Specialists: 3 
Total: 54

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