NEPD Roster: Doug Kyed
With the 75 and 53 man roster cut downs just four days away, this will be a busy week for The Turk.
The staffer in charge of cutting players will be busy handing paperwork to undrafted free agents and veteran journeymen.
With cuts coming in left and right, this will likely be my final roster prediction for the 2012 season.
QB: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
Mallett’s looked better as the preseason has progressed, to the point that I think the Patriots would be open to trading Brian Hoyer if the right offer came along. Unfortunately, Hoyer has also struggled and I’m not sure how high his value was to begin with. At this point though, I have the Pats carrying all three QBs with Hoyer as the backup.
RB: Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Jeff Demps
The Demps addition may spell doom for Brandon Bolden. I’d say there’s still a chance Bolden makes the team though, since Ridley will be backed by three similar change of pace backs. If Ridley went down with injury or had fumbleitis again, there’s no prototype Belichick-ian RB behind him.
FB: Spencer Larsen
Larsen was back on the field Friday night and did things that fullbacks do. Fortunately, Larsen also brings versatility on special teams and defense. And Josh McDaniels apparently loves him.
EDIT 8/27: Larsen was part of the first round of cuts, in his place would be RB Brandon Bolden.
WR: Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater
All month we’ve been going back and forth with Branch and Donte Stallworth, my final decision is that Branch makes the team. I got frustrated watching him last year, but he was also the WR2 last year. As the WR4/5, it’s more acceptable to have him on the team.
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells
I’ve been saying all year that I don’t see Visanthe Shiancoe making the team, and I still don’t. His injury didn’t help him, neither did the fact that no one wanted him until the Patriots finally stepped up. The NFL is a tough game and guys lose it fast.
OL: Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Brian Waters, Sebastian Vollmer, Ryan Wendell, Marcus Cannon, Nick McDonald
No big surprises here, I still don’t have Koppen on the team, and no other OL have impressed enough to supplant any of these eight.
DT: Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Marcus Forston
Wilfork, Love, Brace and Deaderick are all great defenders against the run, so I think it would be wise to give Forston a chance until Myron Pryor can come off the PUP list to be that penetrating interior lineman.
Forston has impressed me in the preseason so far, and his biggest worry coming out of Miami was injury concerns. With Pryor in the wings on the PUP, the Patriots can afford that risk. Forston is also the only UDFA that I have making the roster.
DE/Elephant: Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Trevor Scott, Jermaine Cunningham, Jake Bequette
There may have been some concern coming into the season replacing Andre Carter and Mark Anderson’s double digit sack abilities at DE. Those concerns should have been thrown out as soon as Chandler Jones stepped onto the field. All five of these players have been impressive and I can’t see one getting cut in favor of Rutgers-favorite Justin Francis.
LB: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Bobby Carpenter, Tracy White
Yup, I’ve only got five on here. With Mayo, Hightower, Carpenter and Ninkovich’s versatility, I think they can afford less traditional linebackers. Mayo, Hightower and Carpenter could likely play all three LB spots and Nink could slide back to SLB with any injuries. If an injury occurs that forces Nink to move back to LB, the Pats could still always sign Andre Carter to take Nink’s LDE role.
CB: Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore, Alfonzo Dennard, Marquice Cole
Marquice Cole has proven enough to me this preseason to make the team. He’s a very strong special teams player and had a pretty good showing in slot coverage against the Bucs. The fact that Cole was playing heavily with the ones was a good sign to me. It showed that the Patriots wanted to get him reps there to get comfortable in a starting role.
S: Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner
It may be a slight surprise to only have four safeties here, but Sterling Moore and Devin McCourty’s versatility at the position allow the Pats to carry just four players here.
ST: Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken
No surprises here.
Next seven cuts before 8/27 4pm: Mike Rivera, Malcolm Williams, Derek Dennis, Dustin Waldron, Tyler Urban, Jesse Holley, Derrick Martin
PUP: Myron Pryor, Marcus Zusevics, Jake Ballard
IR: Dane Fletcher, Brad Herman, Kyle Hix, Jame Richard
Left squad: Tony Fiammetta
Toughtest five cuts: Niko Koutouvides, James Ihedigbo, Will Allen, Brandon Bolden, Justin Francis
Practice squad: Brandon Bolden, Jeremy Ebert, Alex Silvestro, Darrion Weems, Jeremiah Warren, Justin Francis, Jeff Tarpinian, Ross Ventrone
I doubt any or all of these guys get through, but this is a best case scenario. I know Ventrone was an early cut, but he wasn’t healthy, so he probably wasn’t going to practice/play this week anyway. Ventrone and Malcolm Williams are the only practice squad eligible DBs that I don’t have making the 53 man roster. Sadly, I think Ventrone is more ready to step into a DB role than Williams is. At least Ventrone started in college.