Patriots vs. Giants: Final Preseason Thoughts and Projections

Michael Buchanan showed off in the Patriots final pre-season game.

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.


16 Responses to “Patriots vs. Giants: Final Preseason Thoughts and Projections”

  1. Coach says:

    I like the youth movement also and the potential it brings but poseason is all about the vets. We can either get younger and have a monster year next season or flaunt with losing future players w/ injured vets and still not win the Superbowl. Year two jump for Collins, Buchanan, Harmon, Boyce, Thompkins, Ryan and steveB along w/ what we already have is going to be insane…

    • steve earle says:

      Very true what you say, but we have seen Bill’s teams so often bring young guys along so that by mid November thay start making impacts and this year rookies will be starting at a number of spots already ( probably just weakended my argument there) plus there are always the injurys. All we fans can do really is hope for the best. GO PATS!!!!!!!!

  2. steve earle says:

    I was really impressed with Buchanan, Winn and Sims last night. I’m hoping Bill finds a way to keep these three on the 53. It’s always so darn hard with these cut downs because Bill always brings in so many quality prospects. I’m thinking it would be smart to keep the younger guys over some of the older vets who are on the bubble due to the up-sides but I’m only an observer.

  3. patsfaninthedesert says:

    Would rather see any of these players make the team over Tebow: Brandon Bolden- special team and depth, Nate Ebner- 2nd in special team tackles last year, Joe Vellano- needed depth, Daniel Fells- gronk will be out a couple of games so depth is needed. Tebow plays 3rd string QB and not even well. Has anyone seen the stat lines for QBs in the preseason? Tebow is 112 out of 115 for accuracy and 109 out of 115 in QBR. He threw a couple of touchdowns and is a nice guy but useless as an NFL QB. Cut Tebow and if we need him for something else, I am sure he will be around because no one will pick him up.

  4. JMC says:

    I like Beauharnais’s motor-

  5. AM says:

    I doubt Bolden gets cut; more likely Cunningham goes on short-term IR, as noted, or cut outright. He really doesn’t provide great depth or strength inside, and he may be behind everyone but Bequette on the outside.

    Also, I strongly expect the team to mine the waiver wire for help at DT and OL. Seven offensive linemen is awfully thin, and there should be some possible veteran pickups available at both spots. In that case, I’d expect Bequette and possibly one of the Wilsons’ spots to be in jeopardy.

    Alternately, a spot may be freed with Tebow cut, which I still think is a strong possibility. Ditto for Gronkowski going on the PUP list, although that’s a harder sell.

    • steve earle says:

      As much as I like Bolden I also am impressed with George Winn and couldn’t make a choice between them at this point. That’s the problem this time of year. Two or three guys always go onto PUP, IR short or long term, that will be interesting to see. As for cuts I’m still not very impressed with Cunningham, either of the Wilsons, Ebner. Green well lots of others and I must include Tebow there at the risk of being called a hater (which I’m not).

  6. Jack says:

    I also wanted to mention that I’ve been encouraged by the play of Logan Ryan. I attended a couple of training camp sessions, and he looked pretty good. He appears to have the makings of legit NFL corner. That’s huge considering that Ras-I was cut, Dennard’s legal troubles and Arrington’s patchy history at the position. Marquice Cole, who I consider a journeyman, nonetheless had a good showing and did something which has been anathema to Pats db’s in the past few years – look back for the ball. Green also looked back for the ball on a long completion, although he didn’t quite make the play. Perhaps the Pats are putting more emphasis on telling the dbs, hey, it’s alright to look back – we were wrong!

  7. Jackbenimble999 says:

    Great report as usual. NEPatriots draft has become my favorite Pat’s site, since the reporting is accurate, objective and interesting.

    I was encouraged both by Mallet’s and Tebow’s play. A lot of fans (and reporters) wonder why Tebow should take a 53rd spot as a 3rd string QB. Consider that the Pats will probably trade Mallet next spring. Based on what he demonstrated in the pre-season, he (Mallet) is making a lot of progress, particularly in the key areas of reading defenses, going through his reads and decision-making. If I’m an NFL GM in search of a QB, I would definitely consider giving up a second-rounder for Mallet and I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep over it, either. He’s an NFL ready QB.

    If they make the trade of Mallet, then Tebow is the backup and potential starter if Brady goes down. Considering what he showed last night, the Pats probably think he could be ok running the offense if he has a year’s more development. He took a few sacks and the pass to Dobson was horrible, but he showed some evasion and running skills, and hit on 6 of 11 including the two TDs.

    Getting away from Tebow, Buchanon looked like the real deal. I was hopeful when he read his history on draft day. He had some bad luck his senior year, getting into a barroom brawl and then being injured and never getting caught up during the season. There may have been something to do with gaining weight which didn’t work out and/or a change of coaching of something messed up like that. In any case, things just didn’t break his way, and he ended up as a 7th when he should have been a mid-rounder anyway.

    Dobson wasn’t to blame on the pick, but he is having trouble getting separation. They need to work on getting him open because he has magic hands.

    Ballard didn’t impress me on route-running, as he gave up on a play and wasn’t even looking when Tebow broke free from a pass rush and threw down the field in his direction.

    I’m glad to see Bequette *finally* getting some production. I really hope he’s turned the corner, as he had a great college career and some mad combine numbers. He seems smart and keeps to his lanes as well.

    Back to Tebow, one thing I like about NE Patriots Draft is the objectivity, which may stem from the basis of approaching player evaluation from a scouting standpoint instead of opinions based on popular sentiment. I really have a hard time with some of the local media, bloggers and fans routinely savaging Tebow’s performances and plays without figuring what actually happened. Also with pro-Tebowites who will say how great he is no matter how poorly he performs, as he did last week.

    • steve earle says:

      Jack I keep going back over replys and thinking about them but I still can’t see keeping Tebow. It’s not like another team is going to snatch him up if we cut him so he could be resigned anytime. If Mallett is traded next year, that’s next year. Tebow would get darn few snaps in pratice the rest of the way even if Bill doesn’t cut him. How much improvement he could make until this time next year I still fear he would fall far short. Just going by what I have seen, nothing else.

  8. J H TARBORO says:

    RB George Winn is a keeper and also WR Quinten Sims and DE Michael Buchanan. Brandon Bolden, Julian Edleman, and Leon Washington should go! Develop the youth.

    • steve earle says:

      I have to generaly agree though I think Edelman will stick because of his proven punt return ability. Though if BB takes his injury history into account? I really do like Winn and Sims though and hope they at least clear wavers but fear they will not.

  9. steve says:

    Boyce reminds me a lot of Pierre Garcon…he may have far more of an impact than expected. I don’t blame Dobson one bit for that corner route in the end zone. He had his positioning set…he had the high point ready and all the corner and the QB has to, simply, place the ball anywhere within that 5 yard area and it’s a TD. Mallett, who looked good tonight, just shorted that pass drastically and Dobson was in the air and tried, but he couldn’t adjust to ball…couldn’t even get at the player really. That’s all on Mallett.
    Buchanan would never make the practice squad…he’s on the team…Bequette is still on the fence. I still feel A Wilson won’t make this team.

    Should be pretty interesting…there’s always at least a few shockers, and I would gather this year won’t be any different.

  10. Trevor says:

    Mark Harrison? No way he gets cut. IR all the way.

    • Cory says:

      Harrison and Armstead have already been put on IR. No worries there. Love Buchanan since the draft process coming out of Illinois. Wanted the patriots to draft him, thought he’d go somewhere around the 4th round. He ended up sliding to the 7th, crazy. He will eventually replace Ninkovich starting opposite Chandler Jones in no more than two years time.

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