Patriots 53 Man Roster Projection 4.0

Steve Balestrieri
August 24, 2013 at 08:31am ET

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The New England Patriots have finished their first three preseason games and now enter the final stretch of summer before the games begin in earnest in September and the heavy lifting begins.

We did our Roster 3.0 in July after the first week of camp. Now after three preseason games, it is time for version 4.0.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff has some tough decisions to make this week. (FILE:USPresswire)

The cut-down to 75 players will be on August 27, with the 53 player limit on August 31. Teams will be able to sign players to the practice squad on September 1. All players are listed, players in bold are projected keepers.

Quarterbacks (2)

Tom Brady

Ryan Mallett

Tim Tebow

Well things just didn’t work out as planned for Tim Tebow, I think the Patriots viewed him as a long term project and want to keep him around. Unfortunately, due to injuries and other considerations, he’s going to be let go.

Running Backs (4)

Stevan Ridley

Shane Vereen

Brandon Bolden

Leon Washington

LaGarette Blount

George Winn

Flipping Blount and Bolden from our last projection, Blount has played fairly well and is now a fixture on the return teams. Bolden flashes but can’t put a consistent effort on the field and is now hurt again.  Winn is a candidate for the practice squad.

FullBacks (1)

Ben Bartholomew

James Develin

The Patriots will be keeping a fullback this season after all, they’ve worked Develin around a bit and he’s gotten some work in as both a fullback and tight end. He’s another one who is playing a lot of special teams; a good indicator that they team is going to keep him.

Wide Receiver “X” (3)

Aaron Dobson

Matthew Slater

Kamar Aiken

Kenbrell Thompkins

Mark Harrison

Quentin Sims

Jonathan Haggerty

Thompkins has worked his way onto the roster and has been arguably the most impressive player on the offense so far this summer. He can play just about anywhere and is primed to be a big part of the passing game. Dobson is learning and needs to add some strength to beat the jams at the line of scrimmage.

Harrison has yet to take the field yet so he’ll either be placed on the PUP list or on IR. He’s very intriguing because of his size and hopefully we’ll see something from him on the field sooner rather than later.

Wide Receiver “Z” (3) 

Danny Amendola

Julian Edelman

Josh Boyce

No changes here, Amendola has really clicked with Brady and if he can remain healthy should have a big season. Boyce and Edelman are backups who can line up either in the slot or out wide.

Tight End (4)

Rob Gronkowski

Jake Ballard

Daniel Fells

Michael Hoomanawanui

Zach Sudfeld

Evan Landi

‘Sunshine’ Sudfeld has stepped up his play and is becoming a valuable target in the passing game. Gronkowski may not be on the PUP List since talk is they are eyeing a return around Week 4. Fells is banged up and Hooman nabs the final slot.

Tackle (4)

Nate Solder

Sebastian Vollmer

Martin Zusevics

Will Svitek

Bruce Schwab

Solder and Vollmer are locks as solid starters, Svitek was a good quality pickup and can spot start if needed and has been playing guard due to the injuries. Zusevics lands on the roster.

Guard (3)

Logan Mankins

Dan Connolly

Marcus Cannon

Josh Kline

Chris McDonald

Luke Patterson

Mankins is locked in at one position and Connolly is fighting it out with Cannon although both are hurt now at the other. Cannon has the versatility to play guard or tackle. Health is the big question here.

Center (1)

Ryan Wendell

Matt Stankiewitch

No change

Defensive Ends (5)

Chandler Jones

Rob Ninkovich

Jermaine Cunningham

Jake Bequette

Justin Francis

Michael Buchanan

Marcus Benard

Jones and Ninkovich are locks as the starters. Jones has beefed up this off-season as well as kept his burst and is primed for a big season. Francis can play inside or outside and the team has utilized Benard in the same fashion.

Have the Patriots under Belichick ever cut ties with a 3rd round pick after just one season? I can’t remember it ever happening, but I think they do with Bequette at this point who is getting swallowed up on the edge. Cunningham is hurt and hasn’t played.

Defensive Tackles (4)

Vince Wilfork

Tommy Kelly

Armond Armstead

Marcus Forston

Joe Vellano

Cory Grissom

Anthony Rashad White

Wilfork and Kelly are going to be an excellent pair, but after that there is a big drop-off. Both Wilfork and Kelly are on the wrong side of 30 and need to have their workloads monitored. But the depth in the interior is very thin, Armstead was supposed to ease that but has yet to take the field….what they do with him is going to be an interesting call.

If they choose to PUP him, he has until the 6th game to get ready. They can’t designate him for the IR/Return list unless he’s on the roster for Sept. 1,Forston is a logical pick for the third DT, and Vellano who got the start against Detroit gets the nod over Grissom for now because of the injury Grissom suffered on Thursday night.

This position is riper than any other to have augmented by waiver wire pickups after the Aug. 31 cut-down date.

Linebackers (5)

Jerod Mayo

Brandon Spikes

Dont’a Hightower

Dane Fletcher

Jamie Collins

Steve Beauharnais

Jeff Tarpinian

Mike Rivera

Niko Koutouvides

While it seems kind of a thin group, this group can mix and match and could conceivably be narrowed down to five since both Ninkovich and/or Adrian Wilson can play LB in sub-packages.

Cornerbacks (5)

Aqib Talib

Alfonzo Dennard

Kyle Arrington

Logan Ryan

Ras-I Dowling

Marquice Cole

Justin Green

Brandon Jones

LeQuan Lewis

Dowling runs out of chances as he can’t win a roster spot from the trainer’s room or the lower fields working out with training staff. The only issue here is that both Cole and Ryan bring a similar skill set to the table, although the team has given Ryan a ton of work with the first and second team units both inside and outside.

Safeties (6)

Devin McCourty

Steve Gregory

Adrian Wilson

Tavon Wilson

Nate Ebner

Duron Harmon

Kanorris Davis

This unit received a shot in the arm this week with the return of Devin McCourty who, although he’s practiced, has worn the red non-contact jersey all throughout training camp. They’re still mixing and matching with this group so they are not set for starters yet other than McCourty. Ebner makes it on STs value although both he and Wilson could conceivably go.

Special Teams (3)

Stephen Gostkowski-K

Zoltan Mesko-P

Ryan Allen-P

Danny Aiken-LS

No changes here, Mesko holds off Allen who may be practice squad bound.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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