After the Patriots’ 19-17 win against the Carolina Panthers on Friday, here is what we think the final roster will look like.
In: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett
Suspended: Tom Brady
There will need to be a spot created for Brady when his suspension finally ends after Week 4. This will be the first time the Patriots carry three quarterbacks into the regular season since Ryan Mallett was traded in early 2014.
Running Back (5)
In: LeGarrette Blount, James White, Brandon Bolden, Tyler Gaffney, DJ Foster
Out: Joey Iosefa
PUP: Dion Lewis
This is a very interesting position for the team here. Gaffney and Foster have both impressed, and both would likely be picked up on waivers if they try to move them to the practice squad. While Dion Lewis is on the PUP list, it is okay for them to carry all five. When Lewis returns, however, there will be a logjam that must be addressed accordingly.
Wide Receiver (6)
In: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Slater, Keshawn Martin
Out: DeAndre Carter, Chris Harper, Aaron Dobson
It’s the end of the line for Dobson, who has been given many opportunities to succeed and has not capitalized on them. The only way he makes this team is if Danny Amendola is forced to start the year on the PUP list. Both Carter and Harper could find places on the practice squad if need be.
Tight End/Fullback (4)
In: Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, AJ Derby, James Develin
Out: Clay Harbor, Bryce Williams, Steven Scheu
IR: Michael Williams
Derby has impressed enough over the first three games to warrant a spot on the final roster, successfully beating out Clay Harbor. Bryce Williams had some exciting practices before going down with an injury, and he is a strong candidate for the practice squad. The fact that Steven Scheu has stuck this long says something, and he may also join the practice squad.
Offensive Tackle (3)
In: Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, LaAdrian Waddle
Out: Keavon Milton, Cameron Fleming
IR: Sebastian Vollmer
This is a relatively uninspiring group at the tackle position. Marcus Cannon has improved since offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia returned to the team and kept him at his regular position on the right side. This leaves LaAdrian Waddle as the swing tackle, which is a scary thought for many.
Interior Offensive Line (5)
In: Joe Thuney, Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, David Andrews
Out: Chris Barker, Jon Halapio, Ted Karras
IR: Tre Jackson
Joe Thuney has impressed enough to be penciled in as the starting left guard, with Shaq Mason looking like a lock on the opposite side. Jonathan Cooper will be back soon after dealing with a foot injury early in training camp. David Andrews has won the starting center job now that Bryan Stork has been traded, and Kline can serve as a backup across all positions. Ted Karras has been strong, but he doesn’t make the team because of the numbers game. He would be a perfect player for the practice squad, and likely would get a promotion at some point.
Defensive Line (9)
In: Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Vincent Valentine, Anthony Johnson, Chris Long, Jabaal Sheard, Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Rob Ninkovich
Out: Markus Kuhn, Woodrow Hamilton, Terrance Knighton, Joe Vellano
The fact that Terrance Knighton didn’t play in a preseason game that is normally reserved for starters is pretty telling. Bill Belichick has said that Knighton hasn’t exactly figured out some techniques taught in New England, and it’s apparent now. Anthony Johnson had an impressive game against the Bears last week, and had a similarly successful game this week. Markus Kuhn is a casualty because his body type is similar to other defensive tackles already on the roster.
In: Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny, Shea McClellin, Barkevious Mingo, Kamu Grugier-Hill
Out: Elandon Roberts, Rufus Johnson, Kevin Snyder, Ramon Humber
No real surprises here. When Kamu Grugier-Hill was drafted, most people thought of him as a core special teamer. He has impressed in his time on the field with the defense, though, and can hold a backup spot. While Elandon Roberts has been solid, it is unlikely that he can warrant a roster spot. He is another candidate that could stick on the practice squad.
In: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Cyrus Jones, Justin Coleman, Darryl Roberts
Out: Jonathan Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc
Cre’Von LeBlanc and Jonathan Jones have both played very well for undrafted free agents, and would likely make the team if not for Darryl Roberts. This is Roberts’ second year in the system and he has impressed in his time here. Expect to see either LeBlanc, Jones, or both on the practice squad this year if they make it through.
In: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards, Brandon King, Nate Ebner
Out: Vinnie Sunseri
Sunseri has played well on special teams, but he has not done enough to unseat Brandon King or Nate Ebner, who can also fill in at safety if necessary.
Special teams (3)
In: K Stephen Gostkowski, P Ryan Allen, LS Joe Cardona
This group sticks together for the second year. Continuity in this area will only help the team as it tries to recover from a down year in the special teams department.