My Monster Patriots 53 Man Roster Projection
The Pats are set to open camp with one of the deepest rosters of veteran talent this hack can remember. This team is so deep and talented, people across Patriots Universe are daring to compare it to the 2007 squad. My man Phil Perry has done a great job of that over at CSNNE.com – go check it out. But let’s digress…Bill loves to make my job hard – whether it’s preparing for the draft, roster predictions or picking a number in the beat writers pool on Presser Eye Rolls he will give this week – it’s never easy. Bill has kept that up in putting together this set of camp invitees. However, if this roster shakes out it will be a talented-versatile-veteran group that he runs out there every Sunday in his quest to bring an NFL record tying Sixth Super Bowl title to New England:
QUARTERBACK (3): Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett
Notable Cuts/Traded: None
Analysis: Tom Brady has continued to defy logic and is getting better with age coming off his Fifth Super Bowl victory, which saw Brady lead a 25 point comeback and completing a record 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards. (all stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com). The end of the line seems no where close. That being said Jimmy G and Brissett will both be on the roster when the Pats break camp.
RUNNING BACK (5/6): James White, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James Develin (..Who is Here..)
Notable Cuts/Traded:, Glenn Gronkowski, LeShun Daniels , DJ Foster.
Analysis: Can you say Deep? I knew that you could. I can’t remember a group this versatile and talented. While no one will be an All Pro, everyone will make a difference, and from week to week it will be fun to see who is on the inactive list. Yes, I realize there is a name missing here.
TIGHT END (3): Rob Gronkowski, James O’Shaughnessy, Jacob Hollister
Notable Cuts/Traded: Matt Lengel, Sam Cotton, Dwayne Allen
Analysis: Dwayne Allen had a tough time during OTAs dropping balls left and right. I know Belichick spent draft capitol on him, I know he has close to $5 million guaranteed, but I don’t see him sticking. Getting warm and fuzzy with BB is not the reason the Colts let this guy go. He’s bad at football. And he’s a puny human. Unless someone gets cut off another squad ,Gronkowski, James O’Shaughnessy (who I like a LOT) and Jacob Hollister are the three.
WIDE RECEIVER (5): Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Danny Amendola .
Notable Cuts/Traded: Devin Lucien Andrew Hawkins, Austin Carr, Cody Hollister.
Analysis:Brandin Cooks gives Tom Brady another big play target other than Gronk and Hogan. Hey don’t laugh, Hogan makes big plays. Edelman returns as Brady’s go to and will have an easier time becuase of the Cooks move. Both Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell outplayed expectations their first year in the system and have Tom’s trust – watching this crew will be fun. More fun than 07? You let me know.
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE (4): David Andrews, Shaquille Mason, Joe Thuney, Ted Karras
Notable Cuts/Traded: Jason King, James Ferentz, Chase Farris
OFFENSIVE TACKLE (4): Nate Solder, Antonio Garcia, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming
Notable Cuts/Traded: LaAdrian Waddle, Conor McDermott, Cole Croston, Max Rich, Andrew Jelks
Analysis: not a lot. I don’t get paid by the word. Again this is a versatile group of Big Fat Guys and the Eight who make the roster are Scar Worthy.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (4): Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Vinny Valentine, Lawrence Guy
Notable Cuts/Traded: Woodrow Hamilton, Darius Kilgo, Josh Augusta, Adam Butler
Analysis: The Patriots have added Lawrence Guy to the rotation of Branch, Valentine and Brown. A versatile defensive tackle/end who allows defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, to use him in a variety of ways. He fits a 4-3 and 3-4 base – that’s the Patriot Way.
EDGE RUSHER (5): Kony Ealy, Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise
Notable Cuts/Traded: Geneo Grissom
Analysis: After last season – regular and post, Flowers seems ready to explode as a double-digit sack producing Pro Bowl defensive end in 2017 – if the Pats give him the chance. Kony Ealy and top draft pick Derek Rivers will fill the hole of Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard. Veteran Rob Ninkovich returns to give his usual steady play against the run on the edge. Deatrich Wise – watch this kid – is a fourth-round draft pick out of Arkansas but would have been a late first-early second-round draft pick if he came out in 2016. He was banged up his senior season and could be shockingly good out of the gate. Yeah, bye Geneo – your time is up.
LINEBACKER (5): Dont’a Hightower, David Harris, Kyle Van Noy, Shea McClellin, Harvey Langi
Notable Cuts/Traded: Jonathan Freeny, Trevor Bates
Analysis: With Dont’a Hightower having played all 16 games in just one of five seasons (2013), having a veteran able to lead the front seven like David Harris’ is a huge plus. Great move by BB to bring him on.
Behind these two, the Patriots have the athletic Kyle Van Noy in his first full season in New England after being acquired from the Lions last year. Van Noy will be even better this season with a full camp under his belt. Shea McClellin is the wild card for Matt Patricia to toss around adding depth at inside linebacker and as an edge rusher. Now things get fun. Undrafted free agent Harvey Langi–like defensive end Deatrich Wise–was a top defensive prospect heading into the 2016 season. Langi was moved around in college – his nickname should be Army Brat. This kid has all the skills of a Bill Belichick linebacker – big, mobile, and position-ally versatile.
CORNERBACK (5): Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Cyrus Jones, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones
Notable Cuts/Traded: Justin Coleman, DJ Killings, William Likely, Kenny Moore, Dwayne Thomas.
Analysis: This group is so deep it’s an Abyss. One of the best things about BB is he builds his roster according to his schedule – better QB’s? better passing attacks? let’s get deep at Corner. Brilliant. These guys will help a front seven that will need extra time to get to the QB and shut down anyone.
SAFETY (4): Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, David Jones
Notable Cuts/Traded: Jordan Richards, Nate Ebner, Damarius Travis, Jason Thompson
Analysis: Yeah I’m going to miss Nate Ebner too. McCourty and Chung are as solid as they get in this league and having Harmon come on the field in the nickel allows defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, to use McCourty like a Vegas magician uses misdirection to convince you that white tiger disappeared. David Jones is the heir apparent to Chung. This kid has all the tools.
SPECIAL TEAMS (6): Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona, Brandon King, Matthew Slater, Brandon Bolden
Notable Cuts/Traded: None, I already cut Ebner.
Analysis: Jesus Murph, Six? Yes six. Gostkowski, punter Ryan Allen and long-snapper Joe Cardona enter training camp with no competition and are locks for roster spots. Matthew Slater is the only pure special teamer as both King and Bolden can be used at Safety and RB if needed. Come on people, you didn’t really think I was cutting BB Hulk Smash did you?
That’s it folks – will I hit the nail on the head with every one of these choices? No, not happening – but I’ll be damned close.
As always you can follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207