Quarterback 

  1. Jimmy Garappolo
  2. Jacoby Brissett

This group is simple and needs no explanation. Tom Brady’s suspension begins tomorrow, and it will officially be Jimmy Garappolo’s team. It’s time to see what he really has to offer.

Running Back

  1. LaGarrette Blount
  2. James White
  3. Brandon Bolden
  4. D.J. Foster

The only real question at this position was whether or not Tyler gaffney or Foster would make the team. I was leaning towards Foster any ways because he has shown far more speed and elusiveness, but Gaffney’s injury last night sealed his fate. Expect him to wind up on the practice squad if no one claims him. I also would not be surprised if the team swings a trade for a player such as Darren McFadden.

Fullback

  1. James Develin

Develin is probably the most underappreciated player on the roster, and he was sorely missed last season. He doesn’t play a ton of snaps, but he is a crucial part of the run game when the offensive line is as suspect as it was last year. His kick out and seal blocks keep holes open for a player like Blount who takes a little longer to hit the hole.

Tight End

  1. Rob Gronkowski
  2. Martellus Bennett
  3. A.J. Derby

The top two at this position is as good as it gets in this league, and Derby has shown himself to be worthy of at least starting the season on the 53 man. The team gave Clay Harbor a decently sized signing bonus this off season and he’s a proven veteran, but he’s shown nothing this camp that tells me he shouldn’t be cut.

Wide Receiver

  1. Julian Edelman
  2. Chris Hogan
  3. Malcolm Mitchell
  4. Keshawn Martin/Danny Amendola
  5. Aaron Dobson

The top two are entrenched, as we know what Edelman is, and Hogan has impressed throughout camp and should be primed for a career year. The toughest part for me cutting Aaron Dobson with the health of the other three in question. Mitchell has not played since dislocating his elbow in the first preseason game, but is on track to start the season. Martin on the other hand rolled his ankle last night against the Giants and the severity is not known. The Danny Amendola situation is a massive question mark. the team has until 4 P.M. tomorrow to activate him from the PUP list, and the only way I see them doing that is if they think he will be ready before week six, so they just activate him and carry him on the roster until he is ready to go. If Amendola is activated Martin should still make the team unless his injury is serious in which case Aaron Dobson just caught the biggest break of his career. If Martin’s injury is minor the team can afford to play with only four active receivers because of the versatility of the two tight ends to play off the line.

Editors note: This post has been updated to reflect the suspension of Rob Ninkovich. I believe that the suspension results in Aaron Dobson making the team. The suspension opens a spot that wouldn’t have been there if the team had to carry him while he recovered from the torn triceps. The team has enough depth on the edge where they have the luxury of keeping someone at another position. 

Offensive Tackle 

  1. Nate Solder
  2. Marcus Cannon
  3. Cameron Flemming
  4. LaAdrian Waddle

There isn’t a position on the team I feel less confident than offensive tackle. Nate Solder got hurt again last night, although it appeared minor, and his health is the only reason Waddle makes this team. I have no confidence in Cannon or Flemming being able to fill in at left tackle if called upon, but I actually feel decent about them on the right side. Waddle’s spot could be in jeopardy if the team decides to keep five receivers, or if they look for a tackle in a trade, which I really hope that they do.

Guard

  1. Joe Thuney
  2. Josh Kline
  3. Johnathan Cooper
  4. Shaq Mason

Thuney has been the starter at left guard since the first day of camp, and has looked solid so far. Kline is the starter at right guard by default due to the injuries to both Cooper and Mason. Ideally, Cooper is your starting right guard, and he may take that spot back after returning to practice this week. Kline has the ability to play center as well which helps him stay on the roster.

Center

  1. David Andrews
  2. Ted Karras

From the second Bryan Stork got hurt last year David Andrews showed that he belonged. Tom Brady loves him and this is his job. Karras is a 6th round pick who played guard in college, he has been solid this summer and his abilty to play both guard and center keeps him on the roster like Kline, and could eventually push Kline off the roster.

Safety

  1. Devin McCourty
  2. Patrick Chung
  3. Duron Harmon
  4. Jordan Richards
  5. Nate Ebner

By far the deepest position on the team. McCourty and Chung are both All-Pro caliber players who have the versatility to play all over the defense. Harmon has shown the ability to play both deep center field and robber in the 15-25 yard range. Ebner has carved out a role on all of the core special teams and is as reliable as can be there.

Corner 

  1. Malcolm Butler
  2. Logan Ryan
  3. Cyrus Jones
  4. Justin Coleman
  5. Cre’von Leblanc

Another deep position full of play makers. Malcolm Butler is blossoming into one of the bright young stars in the NFL, and still competes like an undrafted free agent. Logan Ryan is ever steady and almost never out of position. Cyrus Jones should slide right into the roll of slot corner, and Coleman has the ability to play there as well. Leblanc has played well all summer and should expect to serve the same role Butler did as an undrafted rookie (minus the Super Bowl saving interception).

Linebacker

  1. Dont’a Hightower
  2. Jamie Collins
  3. Johnathan Freeny
  4. Kamu Grugier-Hill

The Patriots have two of the best linebackers in the entire league in Hightower and Collins. With both of them healthy and on the field at the same time this defense should be one of the five best in the NFL. When one or both of them was out last year the team ran into trouble. Freeny and Grugier-Hill will both be big time players on special teams.

Edge Defender

  1. Jabaal Sheard
  2. Chris Long
  3. Barkevious Mingo
  4. Shea MCclellin
  5. Trey Flowers

Edge defenders are either defensive ends or outside linebackers that are more hybrids with defensive ends. Sheard should be primed for a huge season now that he is the guy on the edge. McClellin and Mingo have the flexibility to play linebacker as well, but I’m really looking forward to what they can do as situational rushers. Chris long has been strong all summer and is going to be asked to play a huge role now with Ninkovich suspended for the first four games.

Defensive Tackle

  1. Malcolm Brown
  2. Alan Branch
  3. Vincent Valentine
  4. Anthony Johnson

Malcolm Brown is already on his way to being the next great Patriots defensive tackle, and Alan Branch is a solid veteran run stopper. Valentine and Johnson are both young players with a ton of upside. Valentine has the potential to become what Branch is now, and Johnson is more of a pass rushing interior lineman.

Specialists

  1. Matthew Slater
  2. Brandon King
  3. Joe Cardona
  4. Ryan Allen
  5. Stephen Gostkowski

Every year the Patriots have one of the top special teams units in the league. The emphasis they put on it and the players listed here are exactly why.

 

 

 

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