NEPD Staff Writer: Matthew Jones
After watching all the other NEPD writers take a crack at the opening-day Patriots roster, I decided to take a crack at it myself. Here is what I thought the ideal mix would look like.
Quarterback (3): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
Running Back (4): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden
Wide Receiver (6): Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Julian Edelman, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, Matthew Slater
Tight End (3): Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Visanthe Shiancoe
Offensive Tackle (3): Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon
Guard (4): Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Donald Thomas, Dan Connolly
Center (2): Nick McDonald, Ryan Wendell
Defensive Line (10): Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Jonathan Fanene, Jake Bequette, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham, Trevor Scott
Linebacker (6): Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Bobby Carpenter, Dont’a Hightower, Tracy White, Niko Koutovides
Cornerback (5): Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Sterling Moore, Alfonzo Dennard
Safety (4): Pat Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, James Ihedigbo
Specialist (3): Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken
Injured/PUP: WR Jeremy Ebert, TE Jake Ballard, TE Daniel Fells, TE Brad Herman (IR), OT Markus Zusevics, C Jamey Richard (IR), DT Myron Pryor, LB Dane Fletcher (IR)
Toughest cuts: FB Spencer Larsen, WR Deion Branch, TE Alex Silvestro, OT Matt Kopa, C Dan Koppen, DT Gerard Warren, DE Justin Francis, CB Will Allen
Other cuts: FB Eric Kettani, WR Britt Davis, WR Jesse Holley, TE Tyler Urban, OL Derek Dennis, OL Kyle Hill, OL Kyle Hix, OL Dustin Waldron, OL Darrion Weems, DT Marcus Harrison, DE Tim Bulman, LB Aaron Lavarias, LB Mike Rivera, CB Marquice Cole, CB Ross Ventrone, FS Sergio Brown, SS Josh Barrett, SS Derrick Martin, K Chris Koepplin
Practice squad: WR Jeremy Ebert, TE Alex Silvestro, OT Matt Kopa, OG Jeremiah Warren, DT Marcus Forston, LB Jeff Tarpinian, CB Malcolm Williams, SS Nate Ebner
-Spencer Larsen could make a strong case for a roster spot if he gets on the practice field; he has a previous relationship with Josh McDaniels and could potentially play a little bit of linebacker in a pinch.
-Donte’ Stallworth gets the slight edge over Deion Branch at this point because he may be a little bit more explosive at this point; Stallworth has been practicing more often as well.
-Don’t be surprised if Alex Silvestro beats out Visanthe Shiancoe for a roster spot; Silvestro is a promising DE-to-TE conversion project.
-Dan Koppen could very well be one of the surprise cuts; he is strictly a center and nearing the late stages of his career.
-Gerard Warren was a tough cut at defensive tackle; Ron Brace’s impressive training camp practices give him the edge for now, especially because Myror Pryor may be able to return in week seven.
-Losing Dane Fletcher hurts; Niko Koutouvides is projected in his spot as a special teams player and depth linebacker.
-Will Allen was tough to cut; Julian Edelman could function as the team’s sixth cornerback if needed.
-The Patriots seem to be high on James Ihedigbo; Nate Ebner could potentially close that gap with some strong preseason performances.