An August tradition is trying to predict the Patriots 53-man opening day roster. A few extra wrinkles have been thrown in this season due to injuries and a certain quarterback’s suspension. The list below has 55 names in total, as Tom Brady (suspension) and Dion Lewis (PUP List) will not count against the Patriots’ 53 man roster until they are able to return. The list also assumes that other injured players will not be placed on PUP and it does not include Sebastian Vollmer, who is projected to miss the entire season on injured reserve. Without further ado, here is my best guess:
Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett (only 2 to open season)
Brady won’t count against the 53 man roster during his suspension, so the Patriots will have some additional wiggle-room the first four weeks of the season.
LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, Tyler Gaffney, James White, James Develin (5 to open season)
Lewis will be on the PUP list and with the uncertainty of healthy at this position, it’s likely that Gaffney and Blount both get spots.
Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Keshawn Martin
DeAndre Carter has impressed me in practice throughout camp and at this time just misses the cut for the roster. However, if Edelman or Amendola can’t open the season healthy another spot could open up and Carter would be my pick.
Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, A.J. Derby
The Patriots could choose to roll with only two tight ends, but given Gronk’s past health issues, having some extra depth here is a good idea.
David Andrews, Bryan Stork
At this point, Andrews appears to have the lead in the starting competition, but Stork is still valuable and can play more than one position along the interior of the offensive line.
Joe Thuney, Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Tre Jackson, Jonathan Cooper, Ted Karras
Mason and Cooper have been hurt most of camp, but both should make the roster and not be affected by their injuries all season. Thuney has been their best offensive lineman in camp and in the preseason.
Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, LaAdrian Waddle
With Sebastian Vollmer likely out for the season, this is the most precarious position for the Patriots. As of now, Solder and Cannon are the starters with Waddle being the swing tackle and primary backup. Stork pitched in at tackle last season, but don’t expect that to be a realistic option this year. The Patriots could choose to bring another player in here.
Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Vincent Valentine, Terrance Knighton
Knighton hasn’t been impressive in the preseason, but he edges out Marcus Kuhn here as his ceiling is believed to be higher. Brown was impressive last year and is quietly establishing himself as an excellent defender for New England.
Jabaal Sheard, Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Rob Ninkovich, Chris Long
The injury to Ninkovich hurts, but Flowers and Sheard have been great in camp and should fill the void until he returns. Flowers can also be used along the interior of the defensive line in passing situations.
Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Shea McCllelin, Jonathan Freeny
Hightower and Collins might be the best linebacker duo in the NFL. McCllelin has the potential to have a major impact as well.
Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards
McCourty is an elite free safety and Chung has played at a high level after returning to New England following a brief stint in Philadelphia. Harmon will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and the Patriots could benefit from having him in a contract year.
Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Cyrus Jones, Justin Coleman, Darryl Roberts
Cre’von LeBlanc has looked good in camp and the preseason, but for now Roberts gets the nod as the final corner kept on the roster.
Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona, Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner