Patriots 53 Man Roster Projection 3.0, Post Pre-season Game 1

Patriots 53 Man Roster Projection 3.0, Post Pre-season Game 1

Steve Balestrieri
August 08, 2014 at 09:03am ET

Patriots mailbag: Examining Nate Solder's slow start, Malcolm Butler's future
Marcus Cannon present, Rex Burkhead misses full week of practice
Rob Gronkowski's new contract gives him lots of incentive to play now
Tom Brady: On film, as good as he’s ever been
Bill Belichick defers questions about new Aaron Hernandez suit

Tom Brady has looked sharp in training camp thru the first two weeks. (USA TODAY Images)

With the first couple of weeks of training camp and the first pre-season game in the books, it is time to tackle another attempt at breaking down the Patriots roster. Some surprises have come about in camp thus far, but overall things have worked out pretty much the way we envisioned back in June.

So,  here is a look at the: “53 Man Roster Projection 3.0 Training Camp” We’ll break down the positions and take a look at how the players fit and performed in the early goings during camp and try to name a Patriots roster for 2014.

Here’s a look at our first projection, done after the 2014 NFL Draft.

Projection #2 after mini-camp can be found here:

While it is still early, some things are beginning to take shape. So first up, the Offense…

Jimmy Garappolo had a good first pre-season game after struggling somewhat in practice. (USA TODAY Images)

Quarterback - Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garappolo

No changes here, Brady looked sharp in the first two weeks of camp and in the joint practices against Washington where he took the majority of reps. Mallett started the game against the Redskins and played the entire first half. And he was plagued by the same inconsistencies that he’s displayed throughout his career.

Garappolo looked better in the game conditions than he has in practices; he looked poised in the pocket and showed really nice touch on a couple of his deep passes. He latched on to Brian Tyms and those two showed some nice chemistry. Much like in 2013 with Tebow and Sims, those two from the third unit were in sync.

Opening day roster – Brady, Mallett, Garappolo (3)

Running Backs – Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, James White, Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray, Stephen Houston, Roy Finch

No changes here mainly by default, the top three players are virtual locks for the roster, Bolden struggled early in camp and now is hurt but neither Gray nor Houston were able to generate much on the ground. Houston lost a fumble and Finch who we thought would have to make his mark on STs put the ball on the ground twice.

Opening day roster- Ridley, Vereen, White and Bolden (4)

Tight End – Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, James Develin, D.J. Williams, Asa Watson, Justin Jones

With Gronkowski still not allowed in contact drills and Hooman injured, the door was open for Williams, Jones and Watson to get all the reps not only in practice but in the first pre-season game.

Williams got hurt during the joint practices and not much was displayed by either Jones or Watson to distinguish themselves in Washington to justify a roster spot. Jones’ intriguing size may land him on the practice squad. Develin remains the FB/H-back and third tight end for now.

Opening Day Roster- Gronkowski, Hooman, Develin (3)

Wide Receiver– Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, Brandon Lafell, Danny Amendola, Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins, Jeremy Gallon, Derrick Johnson, Brian Tyms, Wilson Van Hooser

With Dobson still on the shelf following foot surgery, the competition is open for others to step up outside the numbers. Edelman and Amendola had impressive weeks against the Skins. LaFell is starting to come around a bit and Thompkins to me is a virtual lock to make the roster.

Boyce has failed to distinguish himself so far and could find himself on the bubble. With the team considering keeping only 5 true WRs, he could find himself out unless he turns things around.

Opening Day Roster- Dobson, Edelman, Lafell, Amendola, Thompkins (5)

Offensive Tackle – Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Cameron Fleming, Marcus Cannon, RJ Mattes, Jordan Devey

Solder and Vollmer are the starters and locked in, Fleming could be the swing tackle, however Devey got the start in Washington. Cannon who played RG almost exclusively in camp played right tackle. For now, there remains no change here.

Opening Day Roster- Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, Fleming (4)

Offensive Guard – Logan Mankins, Jon Halapio, Josh Kline, Chris Barker

Mankins is healthy and locked as the left guard, Cannon and Kline have been getting most of the reps at right guard. The coaches like Kline and he and Halapio round out the roster with Cannon having the versatility to move between guard and tackle.

Opening Day Roster- Mankins, Halapio, Kline (3)

Center – Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork, Braxston Cave

Stork, seemed to be pushing Wendell, the returning starter until he went down with an injury. Dan Connolly has been taking a lot of reps at center since then and he and Stork depending upon the severity of his injury may be standing when the smoke clears.

Opening Day Roster – Connolly, Stork (2)

Total number Offense (24) Next the Defense…

[caption id="attachment_2080" align="aligncenter" width="500"]The Patriots need both Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo healthy in 2014. (SBalestrieri photo) The Patriots need both Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo healthy in 2014. (SBalestrieri photo)[/caption]

Defensive End – Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Will Smith, Zach Moore, Jake Bequette, Michael Buchanan

Jones and Ninkovich both are locked and solid if not outstanding starters, the team is looking for depth and some rotational help from Smith, Buchanan, Bequette and Moore.

Buchanan, looks to suffer from the same inability to set the edge as in his rookie season. Bequette is hurt right now and Smith just working back from injury. Moore is raw but looks intriguing.

Opening Day Roster – Jones, Ninkovich, Smith, Buchanan, Moore (5)

Defensive Tackle – Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley, Tommy Kelly, Chris Jones, Joe Vellano, Sealver Siliga, Marcus Forston, Tuipulotu, L.T., Manumaleuna, Eathyn

The team suffered two significant injuries this week to both Siliga (hand) and Jones (ankle) in Washington. If those two are out for a significant time it could open the door for Vellano or Forston to step in,in the meanwhile it affects their depth. Especially with Kelly and Wilfork just coming back from injury and Easley not yet cleared to practice.

Opening Day Roster – Wilfork, Easley, Kelly, Siliga, Jones (5)

Linebacker - Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Steven Beauharnais, Chris White James Anderson, Ja’Gared Davis, James Morris, Cameron Gordon, Darius Fleming, Taylor McCuller, Deontae Skinner

Mayo, Collins and Hightower are locked in as starters. Anderson is a proven vet who can cover in sub-packages. Looked for a better performance from Beauharnais in Washington, he missed a few tackles and overran some plays. Fleming flashed both good and bad. Don’t go to sleep on McCuller  or Skinner and although he was just re-signed, I think Morris may nudge out White for the sixth LB slot.

Opening Day Roster – Mayo, Hightower, Collins, Anderson, Beauharnais, Morris (6)

Cornerback – Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Jemea Thomas, Daxton Swanson, Malcolm Butler, Justin Green, Travis Hawkins

Deepest position on the team, Revis, Ryan, Dennard and Arrington are locks. Browner gets a four week exemption due to his suspension. Thomas and Swanson both got hurt and Malcolm Butler really helped his cause in Washington with a good performance. Hawkins has  good return ability in STs so the book isn’t closed on the last slot yet.

Opening Day Roster – Revis, Ryan, Dennard, Arrington, Butler (5) **Browner**

Safety – Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner, Kanorris Davis, Tavon Wilson, Shamiel Gary 

McCourty is a lock and after him the competition is wide open. Harmon is deigned to be the starter but the team is making him earn it. Chung, Ebner and Tavon Wilson have all gotten significant reps with the first unit.

All three backups have good STs experience, Wilson seems to have benefitted from working out with the other DBs in Arizona this off-season and nudges Chung off the roster in this projection. But there is still a long way to go.

Opening Day Roster – McCourty, Harmon, Wilson, Ebner (4)

Total number Defense (25)** With Browner exemption  Next Special Teams…

Stephen Gostowski returns in 2014 after a solid season last year. (USA TODAY Images)

Specialists: Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Danny Aiken, Tyler Ott, Matthew Slater

Gostkowski and Allen were an excellent tandem in 2013, and nothing changes there. Gostkowski is solid and has been kicking 50+ yard field goals in practice. The only camp competition is at long snapper, and Aiken so far looked sharp. Slater is a special team’s captain and a Pro-Bowler a lock.

Opening Day Roster – Gostkowski, Allen, Aiken, Slater (4) Total Roster (53)

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

THE LATEST FROM PATSFANS.COM:

LOGIN | REGISTER