2011 Patriots Roster Prediction 4.0

Stevan Ridley Patriots

Stevan Ridley made it easy to find an additional roster spot with his performance Thursday night.

After completing another exhaustive exercise of coming up with what I think would be the most productive final roster for the New England Patriots, I’m pretty sure that Nick Caserio and company are going to have more than their fair sure of sleepless nights in the next few weeks.

Let us know how you would change things if you were GM.

Changes from the last prediction appear in Italics.

Quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett (3)

Running Backs – Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, (4 – dropped Faulk)

Wide Receivers – Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater (6 – dropped Tate)

Tight Ends – Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Lee Smith (3)

Offensive Line – Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, Nate Solder, Steve Maneri, Marcus Cannon, Rich Ohrnberger (9 – dropped Wendell)

Defensive Line – Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, Shaun Ellis, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Darryl Richard (6)

Defensive Line / Linebackers – Jermaine Cunningham, Eric Moore, Andre Carter, Rob Ninkovich, Mark Anderson (5 – dropped Markell Carter)

Linebackers – Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher, Gary Guyton, Tracy White (5 – dropped Jeff Tarpinian)

Cornerbacks – Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler (4)

Cornerback / Safety – Ras-I Dowling

Safeties – Pat Chung, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Sergio Brown (4)

Specialists – Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Matt Katula (3)

PUP/NFI: Kevin Faulk, Ron Brace

Practice Squad Possibilities: Jeff Tarpinian, Will Yeatman, Malcolm Williams, Markell Carter, Clay Nurse, Buddy Farnham, Kade Weston

Last six in: Myron Pryor, Darryl Richard, Matthew Slater, Tracy White, Rich Ohrnberger, Matt Katula

Last six out: Brandon Tate, Jeff Tarpinian, Mike Wright, Gerard Warren, Josh Barrett, Brett Lockett


Most of our struggles centered around the special-teams makeup of this 2011 Patriots Roster. Ultimately, some veterans convinced me once again that they deserve their spot on the final 53.

Tracy White and Matthew Slater, welcome back. I’ve been trying to cut you for a few weeks now, but you just keep showing your worth. I kept these two special-teams stalwarts over Brandon Tate, whose return value is diminished with the uptick in touchbacks, and un-drafted linebacker Jeff Tarpinian.

Tate’s injury history is also hampering his ability to make team – he is firmly on the bubble.

I sincerely hope that Tarpinian slides through to the the practice-squad, as his special-teams and 4-3 linebacker depth will come in handy next year, if not before.

Matt Katula, who had a shaky first pre-season game, is our last guy in. He needs to have a flawless rest of the pre-season to hold off teammates Lee Smith, Rob Ninkovich, and street free-agents.

Brett Lockett and Josh Barrett, who have had a tough time staying on the field in their careers, were two of my final cuts. If the Patriots feel like they need a 5th safety on the roster, or a spot opens up due to a roster move or injury, one of these guys will probably make the team. That said, Slater’s role as a “safety” plus Dowling’s potential at the position might be enough for the Patriots.

Running back is another position where each year something surprises us. Everyone saw Stevan Ridley’s great game against Jacksonville, and we know that Danny Woodhead and Benjarvus Green-Ellis are solid.

If rookie running back Shane Vereen can get on the field, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris might both have a tough time making the roster. Faulk might be able to ride the first six weeks on the PUP list, checking on his options when he is fully healed.

Morris’ experience could also be a factor in what would be a very green group.

I have veteran guard/center Rich Ohrnberger making the cut this time, as his decent game at center against the Jaguars has shown that he can be a multi-positional backup. The Patriots have gone with eight linemen before, so the former 4th-round pick is certainly on the bubble. Ryan Wendell is another option at the G/C backup position.

If Marcus Cannon starts the season on the NFI list, that would open up a spot for Mark Levoir or the aforementioned Wendell.

Although he certainly had an up-and-down game last Thursday, corner Darius Butler isn’t on our bubble yet. As long as rookie Ras-I Dowling continues to watch from the sideline, and probably after he returns, Butler’s job is safe.

One guy who certainly showed us something in the Patriots first pre-season game was Mark Anderson. I had him on the wrong side of the bubble last week, but he showed time and time again against Jacksonville that he is able to put pressure on the quarterback.

If the Patriots can, they may have to relegate 6th-round pick Markell Carter to the practice squad.

The youth of Darryl Richard and Myron Pryor get the nod over seasoned veterans Gerard Warren and Mike Wright. Wright’s injury history scares us more than anything, while Warren is nearing the end of his career.

If Belichick wants more experience, we’d take Warren over Wright, cutting Richard. That said, with the amount of quality players at the d-line position, an NFL-caliber player or three is going to be cut.

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47 Responses to “2011 Patriots Roster Prediction 4.0”

  1. Jeff says:

    To me this is almost the same as my list except that there’s no way, in my mind, that Richard makes the cut over Gerrard Warren.

    Also…Yeatman is ahead of Lee Smith right now, and looks to have a strong grip on that roster spot. Lee could take it back, or hit IR.

    Wright I think goes to IR unless he’s back in the next week.

    Deadrick, Brace, Faulk and Cannon all start on PUP.

    No chance does Wendell get cut for any of the other interior OL. They keep him AND Ohrnberger until Cannon comes off PUP.

    They also keep 7 WR’s…Tate’s not getting cut, so people need to get beyond that thought.

    People keep insisting that it’ll be Tate and not Edelman, but there’s no way it happens. Edelman has shown next to nothing since his rookie year. He’s a PR, and notice that they’re having Price take PR’s now…if it’s anyone getting cut…it’s Edelman.

  2. Caleb says:

    Oh, and Faulk on the PUP

  3. Caleb says:

    Here’s mine:

    QBs – (3) Brady, Hoyer, Mallett
    RBs – (4) Green-Ellis, Woodhead, Vereen, Ridley
    WRs – (7) Ochocinco, Welker, Branch, Edelman, Price, Tate, Slater
    TEs – (3) Gronkowski, Hernandez, Smith,
    OL – (9) Light, Mankins, Koppen, Connolly, Vollmer, Solder, Cannon, Maneri, Wendell, Ohrnberger
    DL – (5) Wilfork, Haynesworth, Love, Pryor, Ellis
    DL/LB – (6) Cunningham, Moore, Ninkovich, A. Carter, Anderson, M. Carter
    LB – (5) Mayo, Spikes, Guyton, Fletcher, Tarpinian,
    CB – (5) McCourty, Bodden, Dowling, Arrington, Butler
    S – (4) Chung, Meriweather, Sanders, Brown
    ST – (2) Gostkowski, Mesko


    Brace, Deaderick


    Yeatman, M. Williams, Farnham, Austin, Richard, Weston, Silvestro, Ross

  4. McTash says:

    I think there are many reaches in this projection for those staying and those going. I think the one that makes the least sense is having Cannon on the roster. Why? He has not practiced. He still is recovering, no great need for his services at moment, and since he is on non football PUP can be stored away while he learns until a need arises later in the season. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he does not play at all this season and then has next year as his rookie learning season and becomes the starter in 2013 and not 2012.

  5. psw says:

    Just had a thought next year the O line will be Volmer, Mankins,Koppen,Cannon,Solder. Brady may never be sacked again.

  6. psw says:

    There is a 90 man limit in place, you cant bring in a dozen guys for one position ( as much as I would like to also ) Maybe just one or two at a time would make me feel better

  7. John Major says:

    If I was BB, I’d be bringing in dozens of CB’s hoping that just 1 of them might be slightly better than our #5 cornerback Darius Butler. I’ve seen enough of him. I think that there is someone out there that can beat him out. It’s time to say,” OOOOPS I made a mistake.”

  8. Austin says:

    The Eagles are looking to trade Asante Samuel for two 2nd round picks.

    • TD says:

      I say good luck. He is the worst tacking DB in the NFL. He is also one of the best at getting INT’s, but the position on our team is more inclusive than getting turnovers.

      Also, still cannot forgive him for not intercepting Manning in S.B. that would have won it for us.

  9. Austin says:

    The Eagles are looking to trade Asante Samuel for two 2nd round picks.. What you think?

  10. Austin says:

    Why does it make any sense to cut Tate instead of Slater?

    Tate had 400+ receiving yards last year.. Slater doesnt even have one reception in his whole 4 year NFL career

    Tate is 23, Slater is 25

    Tate is also a better returner and is faster, so why does it make any sense to cut Tate instead of Slater?

    • NEPD says:

      They are completely different players with different skill-sets. I feel that Slater’s ST contributions out-weigh what Tate (unless he gets healthy real quick) can offer this year as a WR.

  11. Ryan says:

    I think it would be hard to cut Tate at this point. I believe Mike. Reiss had a piece on him in comparison to other teams #1 WR’s and he was above average for such a young player. While we may not need him to return the ball as much, him and Chad when on opposite sides of the field will open up welker/edelman underneath. I also don’t think Mike Wright will be cut, he lead the team in sacks as a interior lineman last year. He would be a tough cut. Look at Carter/Williams, to be put on the Practice squad. Then look for Cannon to be on the IR or PUP all year. Just to stash him away, unless we can’t find a serviceable guard replacement. Bill will tuck these players away, and make sure they are there when he needs them.

    These are the guys I have questions on:
    Gerrard Warren (if Ellis can play), Slater, Shun Ellis (expensive if he isn’t going to play), and Butler

    • Ryan says:

      Vareen might even be placed on the IR/PUP for a while.

      One thing is apparent Bill is playing shadow games with some of the biggest team additions. Haynesworth, Vareen, Dowling, etc. We do not hear anything about them.

  12. Bill says:

    This team is loaded with talent.

    Given that, I wish the team would mortgage part of the future and trade draft picks for better players than Rich Ohrnburger and Darrius Butler. I recognize they are marginal players on the Pat’s roster, but I want a team which will smash dozens of NFL team records. And with a couple of roster moves, this team has the ability to smash dozens of NFL records in 2011.

    • Liam says:

      C’mon man, you know that that is not the Patriot way. Bill doesn’t care about records, he only cares about winning. And you don’t win by mortaging the future for third string corners and interior lineman.

  13. TD says:

    Some of the young guys will be going on IR or out the door with all the Vet’s BB brought in and the existing guys in last year of their contracts. The young guys: Tate, Brace, Deaderick, Weston, Butler, Wilhite.

    This year looks like 2007, when BB brought in big play guys and we made a major run, only this time it’s mostly on the Defensive side.

  14. Liam says:

    Butler is another example of why we should’t listen to the initial reactions people have to draft classes. Butler, Chad Jackson and Lawrence Maroney were nearly universally praised as being ‘steals’. Devin McCourty, Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer were all panned as ‘reaches’. We all know how all that turned out.

  15. Dan says:

    I’m happy to hear they are trying to bring in other safeties, but I’m shocked that they haven’t brought in at least one other cornerback. I guess there is plenty of time left; and I still say that 2 more come in before the season starts for real.
    This roster makes sense, I think he’ll always go for the special teams player, and wisely so. He realizes this is not an afterthought, so I would gather Tate is in trouble, and they’ll keep Slater, but not because of his receiving, but simply playing special teams.
    The depth players on defense will be interesting…they have some promising young talent there, and with the system stuff going on flexibilty may be the clincher for whoever makes the final roster. This is a position other teams will be watching closely, because they will be cutting a nice young player at some point from that D-line group.

    • Liam says:

      Tate has value on special teams too, as a returner. Don’t discount that.

      • Dan says:

        ha-ha, I was waiting on that, I almost went back and added Tate as a returner. My memory may be not so hot, but I’m not sure how well he did as a returner towards the end of the season. He seemed to fade, but I could be way off. The new kick off rule may be what does him in.
        I would still gather that Slater making tackles and leading special teams is of greater importance than Tate’s returning abilites. If he were Cribbs it would be a different story.
        We’ll see…it will be interesting to watch this deep team come together via cuts.

        • Liam says:

          Could go any of a dozen ways of course. No one, but no one, ever has any Idea what Bill is going to do. Personally, I see them carrying only 6 recievers, with Slats missing out, as he can more easily be replaced by White, Arrington etc. I’m not going to complain either way. There are plenty of teams that would kill to have our problems though.

      • TD says:

        With the mounting injuries each year, most all teams have/need returners that can do other things than just return in order to carry guys on the roster in other places, that and the returner can justify more money.

        You see Hester & Cribbs continually put in at receiver spots.

  16. psw says:

    I’m still very worried about the D line and LB’s. VW and Mayo are world class, but I worry about the rest. The Jags were not much of a test. I actually like the potential in the secondary in spite of butler, does he study at all, or is he that dumb.
    Fortunatly O line ,WR, RB, TE, all good and of course in TOM we trust.

    • Dan says:

      I don’t think Butler’s issues are studying, I feel they are just instinctive; he just doesn’t have the skills to cover anyone, so it seems.

  17. cliverush says:

    Butler looked as though he was lost. The simple upfield move drove him 6-9 yds. off his man. He is not long for Foxboro. The D ine situation is still ongoing and very competitive. Yettman looked good.

    • Dan says:

      So true, and he’s already 10 yards back to begin the play. I really don’t get this guy at all. His confidence must be shot.

  18. TD says:

    If this year is any indication of the kind of DL’s available on the street, why draft or keep young DL’s like Brace, Deadrick, Weston, etc especially since BB seems to be loading up on 4-3 type guys?

    • AM says:

      Most 3-4 tackles are capable of playing 4-3 tackle; it’s only the other way around that is difficult. Brace, for one, played inside in the 4-3 in college, so that’s all the more reason to keep him around and see what he can do. Not to mention that the conversion to a full-time 4-3 is far from a given–I think it’s much more likely that Belichick sticks with a multiple front, and just increases the 4-3 percentage overall.

  19. eric saint says:

    ron brace gone?

    • Dan says:

      At this point I’m over Brace, Butler, Tate and other marginal players…they just don’t look like starters on this team and the season isn’t hanging in the balance because of them.

      • cc says:

        You forgot Wilhite on that list, he’s also worthless IMO.

        • Dan says:

          that’s why I wrote, “and other marginal players”.

          My point is this, the team is build mostly of the core guys…year after year players come & go. The marginal guys are just not that important. As fans we follow closely…it’s fun, but in the long none of these guys will do much; although, there is the occasional contribution and you need a deep team.

  20. cash says:

    With the kickoffs being moved up, and touchbacks more likely, I would think that makes it easier to cut a pure special teams type player (white, slater, tarpinian, malcolm williams) with their value going down a little.

    • Ken W says:

      Thats a great point, haven’t really thought about that but it makes sense. I guess a player on punt coverage or return has a little more value then someone on the kickoff team.

  21. Liam says:

    Can’t see them getting rid of Wright, unless the injury situation is really serious (IR). Quintessential Patriots player: hard working journeyman who plays with heart and discipline. Brings good experiance and some pass rush as well.

    Weston is a possibility as well, ahead of Richard. I like what I’ve seen of him as a backup in big Vince’s spot.

    Well thought out roster prediction.

  22. JMC says:

    I don’t see either Pryor, Wright or Warren getting cut.

    I think Tale, Slater and Edelman are on the bubble.

    I could see them looking for an upgrade at WR and safety, and maybe the two second round picks and Faulk starting the year on the PUP with Brace.

    • Liam says:

      Ras-I and Vereen can’t be on PUP. They both practiced this year. Edelmann’s safe. Tate and Slater are probably fighting for one spot.

    • Ken W says:

      I think Edelman is in for sure and Tate had a pretty good “rookie” year so I think he gets in.

    • Dan says:

      I think that Edelman is Welker’s clear back up, and not a true wideout. This gives him a spot on the team, in additon to being a good punt returner. He’s a weapon, even though he’s not showing that he’s a true wide out, but neither is Welker.

  23. Pete says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Richard’s potential and it looks like he has a shot to make it this year with the injuries to Brace and Wright.
    It’ll be interesting to see how things evolve with the receivers. If Malcom Williams makes it over Butler at CB, I could see Slater getting the cut and the team holding on to Tate because of Williams special teams skills.

  24. Geronimo says:

    That looks about perfect. Would love to find a way for Tate to make it though.

    • AP says:

      I agree with a lot of what he wrote, with the exception of one thing… NO WAY he keeps Matt Katula… too many players more valuable to keep… maybe G. Warren who was solid last year?

      Tate probably on PUP but ultimately gets cut. I have seen this before, speed, talent, no results… reminds me of Tony Simmons… haha

      • TD says:

        Since he went so long w/out being signed, I would think GWarren and a few others could be let go and picked up later in emergency. Since BB seems to be committed to both 3-4 & 4-3 guys, there are going to be a bunch of duplicate players in camp.

        I suspect he keeps Albert, Carter and possibly Anderson for pass rush and will PUP Brace & Deaderick for later as well as possibly IR a guy or two for next year.

        It’s asking a lot for a positional player to come in and long snap.

        • AP says:

          Ooops, I gotta fess up… I though Katula was the young kicker they had kicking off to supplement Gostkowski!!

          I thought we had another guy as the long snapper…?

          I think if Anderson keeps playing the way he has, he has a spot.

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