Therefore, we’re going to make our second of five predictions of what the Patriots 53-man roster will look like come opening day of the 2011 NFL season.
Quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett (3)
Running Backs – Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Sammy Morris (5)
Wide Receivers – Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate (6)
Tight Ends – Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Lee Smith (3)
Offensive Line – Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, Nate Solder, Mark Levoir, Ryan Wendell (8)
Defensive Line – Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, Mike Wright, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love (7)
Linebackers – Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, Dane Fletcher, Eric Moore, Gary Guyton, Rob Ninkovich, Markell Carter, Jeff Tarpinian (9)
Cornerbacks – Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, (5)
Safeties – Pat Chung, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Sergio Brown (4)
Specialists – Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Matt Katula (3)
PUP/NFI: Marcus Cannon
Last four in: Darius Butler, Jeff Tarpinian, Taylor Price, Sammy Morris
Last four out: Jonathan Wilhite, Matthew Slater, Tracy White, Kevin Faulk
Sammy Morris’ skill-set at fullback/short-yardage is what is keeping him on the roster currently, although if Stevan Ridley can show some ability in those areas Kevin Faulk could be the fifth running back. We’d certainly like to see him make the team.
Jeff Tarpinian is our surprise pick, as we think that his low price-tag and special teams ability gives him a good chance of beating out incumbent special-teams ace Tracy White.
Darius Butler has the most potential of the remaining defensive backs, although Josh Barrett and Jonathan Wilhite are probably in the running for a spot on the roster.
Slater isn’t really a threat at receiver, and while his special-teams play is good, we’re not sure it warrants a spot over a guy like Taylor Price.