Early 53-Man Roster Projection

    The Patriots have been practicing since July 28 and in that time several players have separated themselves while others are still battling for spots on the roster. Below is a projection of the Week 1 roster heading into the first preseason game.


    Cam Newton

    Mac Jones

    Brian Hoyer

                            Third-year backup Jarrett Stidham being out until October makes the path easier for the Patriots to keep Newton, Jones and Hoyer, though in fairness Jones and Newton were locks over Stidham regardless. Newton currently projects as the Week 1 starter, but that battle is not over yet. If Jones wins the job, Newton will likely be cut or traded.

    Running Back:

                Damien Harris

                James White

                Rhamondre Stevenson

                Sony Michel

                Brandon Bolden           

                            Running back projects to be one of the deepest units on the team. Harris had an excellent stretch run in 2020 and Michel looked as good in the last three games of 2020 since he did in his 2018 rookie season. White is a do-it-all back who is one of the best pass catching running backs in the NFL. Bolden will be a special teams contributor and depth option.

    Wide Receiver:

                Jakobi Meyers

                Kendrick Bourne

                Nelson Agholor

                N’Keal Harry

                Gunner Olszewski

                Kristian Wilkerson

                            The Patriots offense will be tight end and running back heavy, but an injury to tight end Dalton Keene may open a spot for the Patriots to keep six receivers. Olszewski is an All-Pro returner and will be heavily involved in special teams. Harry and Wilkerson were both roster bubble players heading into camp, but so far have earned themselves spots.

    Tight End:

                Jonnu Smith

                Hunter Henry

                Devin Asiasi

                Matt LaCosse

                            The Patriots spent big money on Smith and Henry in free agency and both figure to be large parts of the offense. Asiasi had a quiet rookie year, but has too much potential not keep and see if he can unlock it.

    Offensive Line:

                Isaiah Wynn

                Michael Onwenu

                David Andrews

                Shaq Mason

                Trent Brown

                Ted Karras

                Justin Herron

                            The starting group of Wynn-Onwenu-Andrews-Mason-Brown projects to be one of the best in the NFL.  Karras is a solid interior backup while Herron can backup the tackle spots. If the Patriots only keep two quarterbacks or five wide receivers, they could also keep Yodny Cajuste, Marcus Martin or Will Sherman here.

    Defensive Line:

                Christian Barmore

                Davon Godchaux          

                Lawrence Guy

                Henry Anderson

                Deatrich Wise

                Carl Davis

                            I am as high on Barmore as much as any Patriots draft pick since Dont’a Hightower in 2012. Guy has been a good player for the Patriots for several years and that will continue in 2021. Godchaux and Anderson were early free agent signings who will bolster a porous New England run defense.


                Dont’a Hightower

                Kyle Van Noy

                Matt Judon

                Josh Uche

                Ja’Whaun Bentley

                Anfernee Jennings

                Ronnie Perkins 

                Chase Winovich

                            The injury to Raekwon McMillan was disappointing, as he would have made the team either as an eighth linebacker or bumping off one of the seven above. Uche could take the biggest jump of all these players and having Hightower back is a massive improvement for the defense as a whole. Jennings struggled at times in 2020, but he was also put in some unfortunate situations due to lack of depth. Judon is the biggest free agent signing the Patriots made this offseason and so far in camp he has looked like he will make a big impact.


                Stephon Gilmore

                J.C. Jackson

                Jonathan Jones

                Jalen Mills

                            The biggest story is Gilmore and his battle for a contract extension and raise. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year is coming off an injury, but he is the best player on the team and if healthy still has 1-2 elite years left. Jackson has looked like a number one corner at times, but did notably struggle somewhat after Gilmore was hurt last season, especially in the Monday Night game against the Jets.  Jones is a great slot corner and Mills can play both corner and safety. Mills has looked strong in camp so far.


                Devin McCourty

                Kyle Dugger

                Adrian Phillips

                Adrian Colbert

                Myles Bryant

                            As stated above, Mills can also play at safety. This could be McCourty’s last year, but he still is one of the better free safeties in the league. Dugger has shown immense potential and Phillips is a tough, always-in-the-right spot safety that is an asset to have on the field. Bryant can also play corner as a depth option.


                Nick Folk

                Jake Bailey

                Joe Cardona

                Matthew Slater

                Justin Bethel

                            Folk is battling rookie Quinn Nordin for the kicker job. Nordin has a better leg, but Folk has been more consistent. An impressive in-stadium practice last Friday by Nordin has made this a close battle. Bailey is the best punter in the NFL and Cardona is a solid long snapper. Slater and Bethel contribute on multiple special teams units.

    Jon Lyons
    Jon Lyons is a contributor to Dirty Water Media and is a co-host of the Straight Facts Homie T.V. show on TCAM-TV. He is also a regular guest on Boston sports radio. Jon holds an MBA and M. Ed from Endicott College.




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