Patriots Roster Breakdown: Last Five Years

We’ve put together four Patriots roster predictions so far, mainly focusing on who makes it and who gets cut. We’re going to postpone the next full roster prediction until after the third pre-season game, instead focusing on which positions have historically been on the Patriots opening day roster.

We looked at the last five years – noting that with the rule changes (specifically dealing with the passing game) that roster methodology might have changed since Belichick’s early days with the Patriots organization.

Quarterback
Average: 2.4
High: 3 (’07, ’08)
Low: 2 (’06, ’09, ’10)
Prediction: 3

While the trend in the NFL is to go to two quarterbacks, the Patriots addition of Ryan Mallett will probably necessitate them carrying three – one of which might not be active on game-day.

Running Back
Average: 4.4
High: 5 (’09, ’10)
Low: 4 (’06, ’07, ’08)
Prediction: 4

With versatile running backs like Stevan Ridley and Green-Ellis in the fold, the Patriots might be able to get away with just four running backs – something they haven’t had the luxury of doing since 2008.

Wide Receiver
Average: 5.8
High: 7 (’08)
Low: 5 (’06, ’07)
Prediction: 6

Special-teams players are often lumped in here so it is somewhat misleading. The Patriots tend to have 5 core receivers, plus a special-teams (returner, gunner) on the roster. We don’t see that changing in 2011.

Tight End
Average: 3.2
High: 4 (’06)
Low: 3 (’07, ’08, ’09, ’10)
Prediction: 3

A blocker, a receiver, a combination. This seems to the Patirots modus operandi the last few years, and we don’t expect any different this season.

Offensive Line
Average: 9.2
High: 10 (’09)
Low: 9 (’06, ’07, ’08, ’10)
Prediction: 9

The Patriots are going to have four tackles, three guards, a center, and a versatile interior lineman. Mark it down.

Defensive Line
Average: 7.2
High: 8 (’06, ’09)
Low: 6 (’08)

Linebacker
Average: 8.6
High: 10 (’07)
Low: 6 (’09)

Front Seven
Average 15.8
High: 17 (’06, ’07)
Low: 14 (’09)
Prediction: 16

With the different schemes the Patriots have run over the years (3-4, 4-3, etc…) it’s better to just lump the front seven positions together. We see the Patriots keeping 6 true linemen, 4 true linebackers, and 5 that can go both ways.

Cornerback
Average: 4.6
High: 5 (’08, ’09, ’10)
Low: 4 (’06, ’07)
Prediction: 5

As passing offenses have become more prevalent, five cornerbacks seems like the standard for now.

Safety
Average: 4.6
High: 5 (’06, ’07, ’09)
Low: 4 (’08, ’10)
Prediction: 4

Unless a special teams standout emerges, the Patriots will probably just keep the four safeties.

Special Teams
Average: 3
High: 3 (All years)
Low: 3 (All years)
Prediction: 3

No surprises here.


Look for our full roster prediction later this week.

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11 Responses to “Patriots Roster Breakdown: Last Five Years”

  1. TD says:

    Like Casserio said the other day, they will be saying goodbye to some good football players.

  2. cc says:

    The predictions seem to be pretty spot on. I wouldn’t change much too it. Regardless of predictions……

    They better keep more than they think they need in reserve….The Patriots have had a handfull of illeigal hits put on them thus far already, and it hasn’t even been but a mere 1/2 the pre-season gone yet!
    B.B. and Bobby Kraft better speak with Roger G. as well as keep real good tape through out the year regarding specific action and hit’s against the Pat’s even if that specific play is somewhat irrelivent to the actual and specific gain and or loss of yard’s on that particular play.
    * With not actually watching the games due to being busy at work and just watching taping’s after….I’ve counted the three thundering and very specific/clearly intentional helmet to helmet hit’s already which have later i found been shown on places like ESPN, FOX and other’s, and that doesn’t even count the two more very clear and very border-line ones in addition to those three!

  3. Bill says:

    That’s an interesting analysis.

    I can understand the importance of a five year plan better than I did before I read your article.

  4. JMC says:

    If they go with three TE, I think Smith will make the team and not Mills but that is a interesting pick-up to the pre-season roster.

    Could they consider going with eight on the OL and four TE to start the season?

  5. Geronimo says:

    I wonder how Garrett Mills changes things.

    • Liam says:

      Garret Mills is a camp body only

      • TD says:

        He is also insurance if our only “move” TE, Hernandez gets hurt. That is if he can catch the ball. Hernandez is a very dynamic TE, much like Dallas Clark and Gates.

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