NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
The Patriots were able to cut their roster down to the league mandated 53 tonight. As expected there were some surprises and some decisions that left people a little curious. How does the roster breakdown position by position? Who are the first players to go if the Patriots claim someone on waivers? Check it out here.
Quarterback (2) - Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett
Running Back (4) - Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden
Wide Receiver (4) - Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater
Tight End (4) - Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells, Visanthe Shiancoe
Offensive Tackle (3) - Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon
Offensive Guard (3) - Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Donald Thomas
Center (2) - Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald
Defensive Tackle (5) - Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, Ron Brace, Marcus Forston
Defensive End (6) - Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham, Trevor Scott, Jake Bequette, Justin Francis
Linebackers (6) - Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Bobby Carpenter, Tracy White, Mike Rivera
Cornerbacks (6) - Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Sterling Moore, Alfonzo Dennard, Marquice Cole
Safeties (4) - Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner
Specialists (3) - Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken
Final Total - Offense (22)/Defense (27)/Specialists(3)/ Open Roster Spot(1)
PUP (2): Myron Pryor, Markus Zusevics
Injured Reserve (7): Will Allen, Josh Barrett, Jeff Demps, Dane Fletcher, Brad Herman, Spencer Larsen, Jamey Richard
Reserve/Did Not Report: Brian Waters (OG)
The initial roster breaks down a little off balance. They cut the roster by an extra player down to 52 meaning another player is going to be brought in this weekend. Brian Waters could be that players, as could a wide receiver or fullback. The most disappointing move of the day in my opinion was the news that Jeff Demps was being placed on season ending IR. There could be many reasons as to why Demps (who appeared to suffer a MINOR injury Wednesday) was placed on IR). He had only been with the team for two weeks, needed to add weight and probably wasn’t where he needed to be in the playbook. This becomes a red shirt year for him and he can come back better equipt to handle NFL football next year.
The offense is made up of four running backs, four tight ends and only four receivers. It’s still a lot of weapons but, the depth at receiver is concerning. It’s time for Julian Edelman to become a factor in the offense and he showed all preseason that he could be a breakout player. Keeping a fourth tight end seemed to be a priority of the team since the off-season where they targeted multiple tight ends to sign. Whether Shiancoe, who missed most of camp with an injury is on the roster week one remains to be seen. Shiancoe could be gone if the team signs a fifth wide receiver or fullback.
On defense, they elected to keep 27 players which is usually one or two more players than usual. Both Justin Francis and Marcus Forston made the team as an UDFA. While both can celebrate tonight, they should be holding their breath, because if another player can be claimed they are the first ones to go. Tracy White made the squad despite missing all of training camp with an unknown injury. Mike Rivera beat out Niko Koutivides and Jeff Tarpinian for the final LB spot. His play against the Giants could have been the deciding factor. In the secondary, the Patriots made the wise decision to keep six quality cornerbacks and only four safeties. The decision came down to keeping rookie CB Alfonzo Dennard/Marquice Cole or Safety James Ihedigbo. Dennard has too much potential to risk losing on waivers and Cole has been a special teams standout in preseason games. This defense appears to be much deeper, much more athletic and much younger than last year’s defense.
First Players to Go: Marcus Forston, Mike Rivera, Visanthe Shiancoe, Justin Francis, Donald Thomas