We’ve already given you our first prediction for the final 53-man roster, but by reader request we’re going to get a bit more specific and take a crack at projecting the starting offense and defense.
QB – Tom Brady
RB – Laurence Maroney
TE – Rob Gronkowski
WR – Randy Moss, Torry Holt
SWR- Julian Edelman
OL – Matt Light, Nick Kaczur, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Sebastian Vollmer
Notes: We eventually see Wes Welker taking his slot position back once he is healthy, and Taylor Price snatching the #2 WR spot from Torry Holt after the bye-week. If Logan Mankins is still around, that could shake up our offensive-line makeup. We see all three TE’s and four/five RB’s getting playing time, depending on the gameplan and situation, so who is “starting” will obviously change from week to week.
DL – Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Gerard Warren
OLB – Tully Banta-Cain, Derrick Burgess
ILB – Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo
CB – Leigh Bodden, Devin McCourty
S – Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung
Notes: In today’s NFL, your slot CB is basically a starter, so Darius Butler should probably be on this list. We see him as a better slot CB than McCourty. I fully expect Jermaine Cunningham to challenge Burgess for playing time early and often, with Gary Guyton splitting time with Brandon Spikes inside. Ron Brace will hopefully see some time when the Patriots are in four-man fronts, but may get a chance to play the 5-technique. It’s time for Chung to step up, which it sounds like he is prepared to do this season.