By: Steve Balestrieri
Josh Boyce will be an interesting player to watch in camp this summer. (FILE:USPresswire)
With the NFL Draft in the books the New England Patriots can now commence with the off-season workouts with most of the team it will bring to training camp. We decided to do an early projection on what the final roster will look like.There is still nearly three months until that begins, so there remains plenty of time to tinker with the roster, and the team may still add a veteran free agent (rumors of John Abraham still persist) or two.
But here is a list on who is currently on the roster and those players in bold are those we to make the team.
Bill Belichick loves to create competition in camp and this one will be no different. With a totally revamped wide receiver corps in place, its imperative that Tom Brady gets all of the WRs on the same page as far as the offense goes.It is a big challenge but this group on paper seems very talented and promising.
The addition of a healthy Jake Ballard would add to the smooth flowing of the offense. One thing that stands out is the size of the targets that Brady can look to in the red-zone is pretty impressive.
No brainer here, Brady is entrenched at the starter position, the Mallett trade rumors were exactly that. But these two will lead the team into 2013.
Running Back (5)
The team could opt to go with four RBs in a pinch and Blount and Bolden could be fighting it out for a final roster spot, because neither is a lock at this point. The rest are. Ridley is the team’s first two down back and Vereen and Washington can split some third down snaps. Bolden and Blount will look to back up Vereen and provide short yardage.
Full Back (0)
Once again I believe the team takes no FBs into the roster to start the season.
Wide Receiver- “X” (3)
Dobson, Boyce and Slater for his STs skill are locks. How effective they are this season will depend entirely upon them. Jenkins falls victim to a numbers game.
Wide Receiver- “Z” (3)
Don’t write off Moe too early, he may force their hand into keeping another WR and at the least may find himself on the practice squad. Amendola, Edelman and Jones are versatile enough to play outside or in the slot.
Tight End (4)
The health of Gronkowski and Hernandez may have a bearing on the final list here, but for now Hoomanawanui beats out Fells for the final slot.
Solder and Vollmer are locks, I think Svitek will outlast Zucsevics who doesn’t have his experience.
Mankins and Connolly are entrenched as the starters but McDonald and Cannon both make the roster because they are able to fill in either inside or outside. Cannon may push Connolly for the starters position this summer.
Wendell is the starter here but Stankiewitch will be a candidate for the practice squad.
Defensive Ends (4)
This will be a hotly contested position in camp, CFL vet and Northeastern alum Vega doesn’t make the cut, Bequette, Cunningham, Francis and Buchanan will be fighting for snaps and their jobs every day.
Defensive Tackles (4)
Deaderick who has had a hard time staying healthy will have a tough time making the roster. The additions of Kelly and Armstead push him out. Watch for Vellano an undersized but tough customer who may play himself into at least a practice squad job.
The team upgraded their speed and coverage ability with Collins and Beauharnais. White whose primary value was on STs will be forced out. Collins will move around, inside and outside as well as possibly at DE in some sub-packages but for now will be a 3rd down OLB.
For once the Patriots CBs seem to be a position of strength, the starting trio of Talib, Dennard and Arrington in the slot was solid when they played together down the stretch last season. Ryan will be a very capable back-up who may be looking at replacing Talib at the end of next season if he decides to leave. Dowling is by no means a lock nor Cole but at least Cole provides solid STs experience. Dowling must stay on the field this summer if he wants to be here in Sept.
The safety position seems on paper to be much more solid now with McCourty and Adrian Wilson as your starters. Gregory beats out Ebner because he’s a much better FS and the SS position with the two Wilsons and Harmon should be set.
Special Teams (3)
No changes here, all three returning starters are solid, but a little competition is never a bad thing.