We are now five days away from the deadline for NFL teams to cut down to 53 man rosters. Came at us fast huh? Yikes. With a shorter training camp and no preseason, evaluating players had to of been a lot harder this year, not to mention the fact that the beginning of the season should be a gigantic shitshow.
As websites of our ilk are want to do, I figured I’d take a crack at breaking down what the Patriots’ 53 man roster might look like, based on rumblings and grumblings I’ve heard from the the various media actually allowed to attend camp. The Patriots in particular are kind of a bitch to predict given they play so positionlessly in some areas. But here goes nothing.
Keep: Cam Newton (QB1), Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
Cut: Brian Lewerke
No shockers here. If reports are accurate Cam is really starting to run away with the QB1 job. Not just because of his passing either. He has obvious superiority when it comes to athleticism and the energy he brings to the offense, I’m told, is palpable. Stidham gets another year to learn and Hoyer can stand in as old reliable.
Running Backs (4)
Keep: Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel
Cut: J.J Taylor
Word out of camp is we could see Harris picking up a lot more carries this year. I’ll be fine with that as it takes the load off Blanco and allows him to be the de facto 2nd or 3rd option in the receiving game. Sony Michel, whichever version, will start the season splitting carries with Harris while Burkhead can fill in wherever needed
Keep: Jakob Johnson
I have half a mind to doubt myself in keeping a Fullback. That said the Pats run game statistically fell off a cliff without a FB last year and Johnson by all reports has played really well this camp.
Tight Ends (2)
Keep: Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene
Cut: Ryan Izzo, Jake Burt, Paul Quessenberry, Rashad Berry, Paul Butler
This seems strange for me to even write but I think Belichick may go full “fuck it” and roll the rookies out there. Camp is so hard to judge on its own merits, but Asiasi has looked like the receiving threat we didn’t know existed when we drafted him and both youngbloods have looked good blocking. Thus we reach the end of the line for Izzo.
Wide Receivers (6)
Keep: Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohammed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, Gunnar, Olszewski, Damiere Byrd
Cut: Isaiah Zuber, Devin Ross, Jeff Thomas
Probably not a ton of surprise here. Harry has apparently looked great this camp, adapting his college game of just snatching shit out of the air with zero separation to the pros. Gunnar, they say, now looks more like a WR than an interesting project. Sanu gets a chance to prove he doesn’t suck. Meyers gets to prove he wasn’t a one year preseason wonder.
Offensive Lineman (9)
Keep: David Andrews, Yodny Cajuste, Jermaine Eluemunor, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn,Michael Onwenu, Tyler Gauthier, Korey Cunningham
Cut: Ben Braden, Hijalte Froholdt, Justin Herron,
A lot of this is guess work. My first six, whether they start or not, I think are shoe ins. After that I’m not too sure. An example of this is whether they’ll keep Cunningham, a veteran backup Tackle from last year’s squad, or 6th round pick Herron. I went with Cunningham.
Defensive Tackles (4)
Keep: Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy, Byron Cowart, Beau Allen
Cut: Bill Murray, Xavier Williams, Nick Thurman, Michael Barnett
Guy and Butler are locks and things get interesting after that. The Pats kept Cowart around so that should count for something. They have an old nemesis in Allen that they have a history of keeping around.
Edge Players (6)
Keep: Chase Winovich, John Simon, Afernee Jennings, Derek Rivers, Shalique Calhoun, Deatrich Wise Jr.
Cut: Tashawn Bowers, Brandon Copeland
This is sooooo goddam tricky. Tne Patriots front seven should be considered its own state of matter. Wise and Calhoun stay for now as reports are that Josh Uche is getting a lot of looks as a MLB of all things. Jennings is listed off the edge here even though I think he’ll play a swiss army, elephant backer role akin to Hightower- If not now than in the future. One could argue Wise Jr. is also now a DT but whatttever.
Keep: Ja’Whaun Bentley, Josh Uche, Cassh Maluia
Cut: Terez Hall, De’Jon Harris
Again, some are listing Uche as a rusher but he’s getting a lot of looks inside. Maluia should see a lot of snaps this year as well. Bentley gets to prove he’s the next Boogeyman.
Keep: J.McCourty, Stephon Gilmore, J.C Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Justin Bethel
Cut: Michael Jackson, Myles Bryant, D’Angelo Ross
I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Williams was cut, although he should get another year. Jackson looked good on the field last year but has been torched a bit this camp. Jonathan Jones was a pleasant surprise in coverage last year. JMac and Gilmore are the 1-2. Bethel gets stashed for his S/T expertise.
Keep: D.McCourty, Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, Terrance Brooks, Cody Davis
The Pats have a group of one Pro Bowler, a few solid players, and two unknowns at Safety this year. Dugger was the surprise second rounder out of the DII rankings. He has received positive reviews this camp though. My onion with him has been this: We play a ton of man. Tight Ends are all the rage so teams are drafting big ass safeties (basically small LBers, called “moneybacks”) to cover them. If all a first year guy has to do is “go cover that big ass tight end” it should be easy enough to see what we have.
Kicker: Justin Rohrwasser,
Punter: Ryan Allen
Special Teams Ace/WR: Matthew Slater
Long Snapper: Joe Cardona
Cut: Nick Folk
I just cannot see Bill Belichick quitting on a 5th round pick with a big leg. Everything else is obvious.