NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
A long and eventful off-season finally comes to an end next week when the Patriots get back to work on the practice fields in Foxboro. At last we can talk about football and roster decisions. A lot of talk early on will be centered on players that are no longer in New England.
Nevertheless, the 2013 Patriots features an extraordinary amount of young depth across the roster. It’s never easy to cut down to 53 players and this year may prove to be one of the hardest.
Here’s an early look at what the Patriots roster could look like.
Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Tim Tebow
Running Backs (4)
Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington, LeGarrette Blount
Tight Ends (4)
Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, Zach Sudfeld
Wide Receivers (6)
Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Julian Edelman, Donald Jones, Matthew Slater
Offensive Tackles (3)
Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Will Svitek
Offensive Guards/Centers (4)
Logan Mankins, Marcus Cannon, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell
Defensive Tackles (4)
Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead, Marcus Forston (or DT TBD)
Defensive Ends (5)
Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Justin Francis, Jake Bequette, Michael Buchanan
Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher, Steve Beauharnais
Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Ras-I Dowling
Devin McCourty, Adrian Wilson, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Duron Harmon
Special Teams (3)
Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken
Last Cuts: Daniel Fells, Jermaine Cunningham, Marquice Cole, Marcus Bernard, Brandon Bolden, LaVelle Hawkins
Practice Squad (8): Markus Zusevics, Chris McDonald, Mark Harrison, Kenbrell Thompkins, George Winn, Cory Grissom, Brandon Jones, Stephon Morris
– Defensive Tackle is the thinnest position on the roster right now.
– Keeping four RB to save roster spots for the WR position. All four RB are known commodities.
– The WR position, although inexperienced, is much faster and more dynamic than last year.
– Forced to keep 5 safties, including Steve Gregory. Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson can handle special teams duties and provide sub-package value, unlike Nate Ebner.
– Offensive Line should be a force. Complete unit returns plus the addition of a solid swing tackle in Will Svitek.
– Biggest competition in camp will be among the DE/OLB group. Jermaine Cunningham, Michael Buchanan, Justin Francis, Jason Vega, Marcus Bernard, Jake Bequette fighting for three spots.
– As long as Alfonzo Dennard is on the field and Ras-I Dowling is healthy the CB position looks set for week one.
– Linebacker is deep and talented.