NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
The final dress rehersal for the New England Patriots before the roster is cut down to 53 and the regular season is in the books. Nothing more can be done to make the team and it’s all in Bill Belichick’s hands now.
While most of the roster was decided prior to the game, it was still an important night for bubble players that needed to put out good tape. How does the roster look now that the preseason is in the books and did anything change as a result of tonight’s game?
Quick Hit Thoughts on Final Preseason Game
– Michael Buchanan solidified his spot for sure tonight. He was consistently in the backfield providing pressure and even found a way to knock down a pass. He has the length and quickness the Patriots like from their defensive ends. He didn’t look like a 7th round pick tonight.
– Tim Tebow was up and down again. It’s impossible to blame the four sacks on him as he was playing with a putrid line, however his interception to Aaron Dobson was all him. I’ve said all along Tebow will be on the 53 and I’m not wavering now.
– George Winn and Quentin Sims, a pair of UDFA, flashed legitimate NFL potential tonight. Winn showed off his savvy and at times powerful running style, hitting the hole with confidence and gaining positive yards on all of his carries. Quentin Sims was added to the roster right before camp started and he has continually built positive momentum over the summer. His training camp culminated with two touchdowns tonight, both from Tim Tebow. While it’s unlikely either guy makes the roster – if they clear waivers, they will be on the practice squad.
– Josh Boyce showed off his game-breaking deep speed tonight. His deep speed is unmatched on the roster and that’s a skill-set that has lacked since Randy Moss left. By mid-season, I expect Boyce to huge factor in the offense and helping take the top off the defense.
– Jake Bequette actually looked like an NFL player tonight. He probably played his best game as a professional showing toughness and strong hands at point of attack. He’s been on the roster bubble all preseason, but I think it’s too early to give up on last year’s third round pick. Tonight definitely help his case to be on the team.
– Adrian Wilson took a beating by commentators tonight. His play has been criticized harshly, and unfairly at times in my opinion. While it wouldn’t shock me if he is cut, I think he has to make this team. Quite simply, Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon aren’t good enough alternatives at this point.
– I was impressed with the backup middle linebacker tandem of Dane Fletcher and Steve Beauharnais. The Patriots have had serious depth issues at linebacker the past three years, but that shouldn’t be a problem this year. Both Fletcher and Beauharnais offer smarts, physicality and leadership. Add in the fact that both contribute on special teams and you have players that will be on the gameday roster.
– Aaron Dobson has to stop catching the ball with his pads and needs to fight harder for the ball when it’s in the air.
Without further ado here is how I project the Patriots 53 man roster to look after cuts are made on Saturday:
Quarterback (3): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Tim Tebow
Running Back (4): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Leon Washington
Tight End (4): Rob Gronkowski, Zach Sudfeld, Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui
Wide Receiver (6): Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater
Offensive Tackles (3): Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Will Svitek
Interior Linemen (4): Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Marcus Cannon, Ryan Wendell
Defensive Ends (6): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Justin Francis, Michael Buchanan, Jake Bequette, Marcus Benard
Interior DL (4): Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston, Jermaine Cunningham
Linebackers (6): Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher, Steve Beauharnais
Cornerbacks (5): Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Marquice Cole
Safeties (5): Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Adrian Wilson, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson
Specialists (3): Zoltan Mesko, Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Aiken
Final Cuts: Brandon Bolden, Nate Ebner, Joe Vellano, Daniel Fells
Practice Squad (8): George Winn, Quentin Sims, Kanorris Davis, Chris McDonald, Joe Vellano, Justin Green, TBA
* It’s likely part of the practice squad will be made up of players not currently on the roster.
* Jermaine Cunningham is a candidate for short term IR.
* Final cut came down to Brandon Bolden and the 10th DL.
Tags: Michael Buchanan