Patriots Post-Draft Roster Reset and Thoughts

Easley is expected to make immediate contributions on the Defensive Line.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Now that the 2014 NFL Draft is in the books we get a pretty clear picture of what the Patriots 2014 Roster will look like heading into training camp this summer. Undrafted Free Agent signings are still trickling in and there will be a few more small signings before the summer, but for the most part the roster is in place. Here’s a breakdown of how the Patriots roster shapes up as of today, a few thoughts on where they stand and where they go from here.

Quarterback - Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garappolo

As of today it’s likely the Patriots retain three Quarterbacks when the season starts. The best thing that can happen between now and the start of the season is for another starting QB to go down with injury to drive up the market for Ryan Mallett. Even then I’m not sure Bill Belichick will be comfortable carrying only two Quarterbacks knowing that Jimmy Garappolo will take time to develop.

Running Backs – Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, James White, Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray, Stephen Houston, Roy Finch

Ridley, Vereen, White are all locks to make the final roster. I’ve been told Bill Belichick really enjoyed the four-headed RB rotation he deployed last season. This means that Brandon Bolden/Stephen Houston/Jonas Gray can battle it out for a roster spot or the Patriots can add another veteran to the ranks berfore training camp. Roy Finch is a dynamic, explosive change of pace back that will have to make the team through special teams. Don’t sleep on Houston, many NFL teams were interested in him during the drafts final round.

Fullbacks/H-Back – James Develin, Tyler Beck

Develin improved as much as any player on the roster last season. With the Patriots likely to carry three Quarterbacks this is one position that could get pushed off the roster. Tyler Beck signed as an undrafted free agent, but he’s the longest of long shots to make the team. Develin can potentially be classified with the TE/H-Backs and with the Patriots yet to address that position, gives him a better chance to make the team.

Tight End – Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, D.J. Williams, Asa Watson, Justin Jones  

The Patriots failed to upgrade this position in free agency or the draft, which raises questions about where they go from here. After missing out on the top four Tight Ends in the draft the Patriots were probably wise to pass on the position all together. They did sign two intriguing undrafted free agents in Asa Watson and Justin Jones. Both very different players, Watson is a 6’3″ move Tight End and Justin Jones is a 6’8″ hybrid monster. I refuse to get excited about any UDFA TE in training camp no matter how good they look. Based on the depth at this position and their previous contact with the player, I believe the chances the Patriots eventually sign Dustin Keller are pretty good.

Outside Wide Receiver – Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins, Matthew Slater, Mark Harrison, Greg Orton, Ja-Mes Logan

Slot Wide Receiver – Danny Amendola, Josh Boyce, Jeremy Gallon, Reggie Dunn

Despite the panic from Patriots fans their Wide Receiver depth chart is deep, much deeper than is was at this point last season. Edelman, Amendola, Dobson, LaFell, Slater are all locks to make the roster. I believe Josh Boyce will be on the team as well and that means A) The Patriots will have to keep 7 Wide Receivers B) Kenbrell Thompkins, Jeremy Gallon, Mark Harrison will be fighting for the final roster spot come camp. In order for the Patriots to cut Josh Boyce, he’d need to be terrible in training camp. When healthy he played well and definitely deserves a full season to show what he can add to the offense. The overall success of this position will be judged by the year two leaps Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and Kenbrell Thompkins make. Throw Danny Amendola into that category as well. Overall, there are questions at the position, but depth isn’t one of them.

Offensive Tackle – Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Cameron Fleming, Marcus Cannon, RJ Mattes, Jordan Devey

The Patriots have short and long term stability at the all-important tackle position. Nate Solder continues to improve and Sebastian Vollmer, when healthy, forms a tremendous bookend tandem. Cameron Fleming is a lock to make the 53 man roster as the 3rd or 4th OT. The player to watch here is Marcus Cannon. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal, but with a new offensive line coach in place, maybe he finally moves inside to Guard. Dan Connolly’s spot  on the roster is as tenuous as ever and Cannon could be an upgrade if the team kicks him inside.

Offensive Guard – Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Jon Halapio, Josh Kline, Chris Barker

This will be the position to watch during training camp. The struggles of the Patriots interior Offensive Line last season are well documented and the Patriots made a concerted effort in the draft to fix that. Connolly is on the books for over four million dollars next year, a large sum for any interior lineman. Despite being selected in the 6th Round  I can envision Halapio beating Connolly out with a good summer. This is a player that could have been selected 2-3 rounds earlier if not for a pectoral injury that hurt his play in 2013. The team is also very high on Josh Kline, an UDFA signing out of Kent State last season. He’s drawn praise from personnel members each time they have a press conference. Even if Connolly makes the roster I expect both Halapio and Kline to see the field at some point in 2014.

Center – Ryan Wendell, Bryan Stork, Braxston Cave

Stork is the only player in this group that can be classified as a lock. The Patriots resigned Ryan Wendell to a two-year contract during free agency, but structured it so if they release him the cap effects are minimal. Out of all the rookies the Patriots selected Bryan Stork could end up starting the most games. He adds size, length, and strength to a position that was simply over-powered too often last season. Cave stuck around on the practice squad last year, but could have trouble finding a spot in 2014.

Defensive End – Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Will Smith, Zach Moore, Jake Bequette, Michael Buchanan

Will Smith and Zach Moore have been added to the position over the last two weeks. Smith is coming off ACL surgery and Moore is coming into the league from Division II Concordia. Whether either player can be an upgrade over Jake Bequette remains to be seen, but it shouldn’t be difficult. If he’s on the team Smith is expected to provide some sub-package pass rush and take some snaps from either Jones/Ninkovich. I’d be surprised if Jake Bequette makes the roster and Michael Buchanan needs to show he can be a more consistent pass rusher this summer. This is still a position that could use reinforcements before the summer.

Defensive Tackle – Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley, Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead, Chris Jones, Joe Vellano, Sealver Siliga, Marcus Forston

There isn’t room for everyone to make the roster. Using a first round pick on Dominique Easley means the team expects him to make an instant impact during 2014 and that will push someone off the roster. We always talk about Armond Armstead and I’ll say it again, the team has high expectations for him. If he’s healthy he’ll push another player off the roster. I can’t see a scenario where the Patriots keep more than five defensive tackles. That means Chris Jones, Joe Vellano, Sealver Siliga, and possible Armstead will be battling for two roster spots. Tommy Kelly looked good last season before he got injured, but he’s not a lock to make the team at this point.

Outside Linebacker - Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, Ja’Gared Davis, Josh Hull, Cameron Gordon 

Mayo and Collins better stay healthy because behind them there is little NFL talent. Josh Hull and Ja’Gared Davis are Special Teams players with little base defense experience. The team just gave Cameron Gordon $20,000+ to sign as an UDFA, so it appears he was a targeted player for them. I’d feel much better about this position if at least one NFL veteran with starting experience is signed before training camp starts. Jamie Collins is expected to make a big jump in year two and will provide the Patriots with more speed than they’ve had at he position in a long time.

Inside Linebacker – Dont’a Hightower, Steven Beauharnais, Chris White, James Morris 

Now that Brandon Spikes is in Buffalo, Hightower slides inside to become the Defensive signal caller. Like Outside Linebacker there is little starting caliber NFL talent behind the starters. Steve Beauharnais barely played as a rookie and Chris White is a Special Teams only player. Keep an eye on James Morris, he was a draftable player that slid through the draft. He played a lot of football at Iowa and was ultra-productive. A few years ago Jeff Tarpinian made the team as an UDFA LB out of Iowa and I think James Morris is a much better player.

Cornerback – Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan (FS), Jemea Thomas (FS), Justin Green, Travis Hawkins

When is the last time that Cornerback has been the most talented position on the roster? There isn’t much in the way of competition at this position. Revis will lock down one side, Browner will lock down the other, Alfonzo Dennard will be the 3rd CB, and Arrington will play in the slot. I firmly believe Logan Ryan will be the starting Free Safety in Miami or at the very least will be the starting safety once Brandon Browner returns. Bill Belichick didn’t even attempt to hide his intent to move Ryan to Safety after the draft. Jemea Thomas and Justin Green will battle it out for the final Cornerback slot, with Thomas adding CB-Safety versatility.

Safety – Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan (CB), Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, Jemea Thomas (CB), Nate Ebner, Kanorris Davis, Tavon Wilson, Jeremy Deering 

One way or another it appears the Patriots will have an all-Rutgers Safety tandem. Brandon Browner will miss the first four games, so I can see Duron Harmon taking the majority of reps early in the season. As I said earlier, once Browner returns the Patriots want to get their best players on the field together and the only way they do that is by moving Logan Ryan to safety. Pay no attention to the Free-Strong tag labeled on the players. The Patriots play primarily a cover-2 shell, so both safeties are over the top in the deep third. I’ve heard this off-season that Bill Belichick drafted Logan Ryan with the goal of moving him to Safety. That didn’t work out in 2013 for various seasons, but nothing is going to stop it from happening now. Patrick Chung is back and if he’s a Special Teams contributor fine, but he’s not a starting Safety. Tavon Wilson will be joining 2012 draft pick Jake Bequette on their bus ride out of town.

Specialists: Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Danny Aiken, Tyler Ott, Charley Hughlett

Solid group. They won’t waste 3 roster spots on Long Snappers, expect Hughlett to get released any day now.

Tags: Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garappolo

29 Responses to “Patriots Post-Draft Roster Reset and Thoughts”

  1. MattAnderson says:

    Is everybody else to blind/part time stupid/full time dip$hit to see Browner skillset screams SS. Like other big physical corners who made the move to SS before him like Lott and Woodson. Browner is big physical and a sure strong tackler to be an elite SS in the box and a leg up on any other SS in terms of coverage skills. So were talking the best cover SS in the NFL capable of covering any TE man up. Vertically challenged pro bowl SS’s like Ward or whitner etc are a liability in coverage against fleener’s grahams and Jordans of the NFL but not Browner. He can cover te’s and most big Wr’s from the SS spot while also able to drop into the slot. He easily beats most slot wrs on physicality and length alone. Not to mention he is deceptively quick and has some explosiveness. His only weakness to his game is he can be beaten by very good to great speed. He will struggle with some of the big wr’s who also possess extraordinary speed for 220LB plus WRs around the NFL like Calvin,maybe Dez Bryant, and Julio Jones aj Green. He also has struggled and beaten by Speedy smaller wrs(Hilton),medium sized rather Speedy WRs with skill sets like Marquise Lee,Paul Richardson’s,Jeremy Maclin,Torrey Smith, or Mike Wallace. From the SS position he wont have that problem because when he isnt covering pro bowl TE’s bill can pick his battles with covering particular WRs. Browner is a favorable matchup with standout WRs like Marshall,Bows,Crabtree,Bold in,Steve Johnson,Colston,Keenan Allen,Cooper,Nelson, maybe even D Thomas Victor Cruz type who have very good Speed as does Browner but Browner has the top flight cover skills to play any TE along with most WRs. It is a huge bonus any time your SS can match up with that caliber of wideouts. It also gives the defense tremendous versatility when your SS can cover most high caliber WRs. No other SS in the NFL offers that kind of CB cover ability. It is a huge bonus and talent/ability no Defense has ever had since Lott. The closest the NFL has seen a SS with that ability since a young Lott has been Rod Woodson. But he was later in his career and the WRs he could handle were far more limited than Browners ability. Not to mention he is as sure a tackler there is and at 6’3 1/2 223Lbs a very physical tackler as well. Browner at purely SS is the all pro at SS this year even after missing 4 games.

    Logan Ryan is a very good corner. Nearly 6′ tall nearly 200LBs (if not already)is great in press and has shown deceptively very good makeup burst in coverage against some speedy WRs,and already has shown top flight ball skills. The main reason is playing some FS is in the event the 5’11 200LB McCourty breaks out this year as Earl Thomas caliber FS which is very likely to replace That would make him tough to resign to a longterm contract. Luckily franchising him for one year at safety will only cost about 7mil. Dirt cheap if he is Earl Thomas Caliber as many qbs have stated they fear Thomas more than Sherman and his threat helps Sherman tremendously. Matter of fact many qbs said the threat of Thomas helping Sherman scares many qbs throwing certain passes Sherman’s way. In short the coaches wanna know if Logan Ryan can replace McCourty if necessary.

    Nonetheless this secondary has the talent to be our best ever. That wouldn’t necessarily mean the best in the NFL this season but it could. That will come down to chemistHe and everybody playing to their max ability while getting our best on the field. Just like the O-Line, Bill needs to play the most talented. Such as Cannon moving to guard. Bill says he is a backup tackle but what if he can be your best guard? Bill won’t do it? He would rather play a guard who is a liability than move a backup tackle over to guard with pro bow potential? Bill is a madman who will never win another championship. His defense loaded with his draftpicks has been terrible. If not for having an all time great qb,where would his offense be if he had just a good qb like Dalton,Schaub or Alex smith. Or even a Joe flacco or Stafford. Which is what he is most likely to have after Brady retires or misses time. And that is if he is lucky to find that decent a qb.With his so called weapons his offense is just like his defenses. Terrible! Well now he brought in some free agent defenders to compensate for his Horrid drafting of dozens of subpar talent defenders. He must be ashamed of picking them players with many out of the NFL or on way out, Crable,Cunningham,brace,O’Connell,Jackson,Tate,price,McKenzie,spikes,bequette,orngberger etc. NO OTHER TEAM HAS BLOWN MORE 2ND/3RD ROUND PICKS SINCE 2005 THAN BILL. That’s a fact and its not even close. He has blown more than anybody. Not to mention WASTED more early picks on RBs and backup QBs. Rbs are found in late rounds and cheap in free agency as is backup qbs. Yet this moron used 3 early picks in 2011 on Rbs that he has benched and failed to standout and a backup qb when he already had one. BTW the backup Bill had did great last year in Cleveland where he had a good O-Line and weapons far superior to trash in New England thanks to Billy Bust. Billy Bust was offered Gordon for a #2 pick or Mallet and a #3. Is it any surprise this clueless burnt out coach didn’t see talent in Gordon. Commentators across the country are beginning to Flat out Laugh at him while criticizing his boneheaded decisions including his former players. Everybody in America can see Brady needs a proven playmaker which would make the offense downright lethal with Brady running it. And it wouldn’t stall out in the playoffs like it has last 3 years due to WRs
    Being shut down by bigger longer faster more athletic corners. Yes corners are far more talented in every way than our pathetic WR duo of EthelmanAmendoofa.

    Dont forget the other guys are being played to win to. The defense to. You just can’t throw anybody out there and say We got starting WRs. And they are pro’s. Newsflash, the defense is getting played to. And they are bigger,faster,longer,more physical and athletic than our So called WRs. Does anybody really think this team can win a championship. For crying out loud the Bronco defense using lots of backups due to injuries shutbour pathetic WRs down. What do you think SF or Seattle defense could do to them losers. Our defense still lacks a consistent passrusher. Broncos sported backups on online at 3 positions and we still had no passrush. However there is some potential unlike our WR corps. Unless we trade for a legit #1 WR rather than hope like a lottery ticket it can get better which it lacks ability to do so,then this team does not have what it takes to win a championship. A legit wr would open up everybody else on our offense while making plays himself.

  2. MattAnderson says:

    Is everybody else to blind/part time stupid/full time dip$hit to see Browner skillset screams SS. Like other big physical corners who made the move to SS before him like Lott and Woodson. Browner is big physical and a sure strong tackler to be an elite SS in the box and a leg up on any other SS in terms of coverage skills. So were talking the best cover SS in the NFL capable of covering any TE man up. Vertically challenged pro bowl SS’s like Ward or whitner etc are a liability in coverage against fleener’s grahams and Jordans of the NFL but not Browner. He can cover te’s and most big Wr’s from the SS spot while also able to drop into the slot. He easily beats most slot wrs on physicality and length alone. Not to mention he is deceptively quick and has some explosiveness. His only weakness to his game is he can be beaten by very good to great speed. He will struggle with some of the big wr’s who also possess extraordinary speed for 220LB plus WRs around the NFL like Calvin,maybe Dez Bryant, and Julio Jones aj Green. He also has struggled and beaten by Speedy smaller wrs(Hilton),medium sized rather Speedy WRs with skill sets like Marquise Lee,Paul Richardson’s,Jeremy Maclin,Torrey Smith, or Mike Wallace. From the SS position he wont have that problem because when he isnt covering pro bowl TE’s bill can pick his battles with covering particular WRs. Browner is a favorable matchup with standout WRs like Marshall,Bows,Crabtree,Bold in,Steve Johnson,Colston,Keenan Allen,Cooper,Nelson, maybe even D Thomas Victor Cruz type who have very good Speed as does Browner but Browner has the top flight cover skills to play any TE along with most WRs. It is a huge bonus any time your SS can match up with that caliber of wideouts. It also gives the defense tremendous versatility when your SS can cover most high caliber WRs. No other SS in the NFL offers that kind of CB cover ability. It is a huge bonus and talent/ability no Defense has ever had since Lott. The closest the NFL has seen a SS with that ability since a young Lott has been Rod Woodson. But he was later in his career and the WRs he could handle were far more limited than Browners ability. Not to mention he is as sure a tackler there is and at 6’3 1/2 223Lbs a very physical tackler as well. Browner at purely SS is the all pro at SS this year even after missing 4 games.

    Logan Ryan is a very good corner. Nearly 6′ tall nearly 200LBs (if not already)is great in press and has shown deceptively very good makeup burst in coverage against some speedy WRs,and already has shown top flight ball skills. The main reason is playing some FS is in the event the 5’11 200LB McCourty breaks out this year as Earl Thomas caliber FS which is very likely to replace That would make him tough to resign to a longterm contract. Luckily franchising him for one year at safety will only cost about 7mil. Dirt cheap if he is Earl Thomas Caliber as many qbs have stated they fear Thomas more than Sherman and his threat helps Sherman tremendously. Matter of fact many qbs said the threat of Thomas helping Sherman scares many qbs throwing certain passes Sherman’s way. In short the coaches wanna know if Logan Ryan can replace McCourty if necessary.

  3. Dan says:

    I think a lot of fans forget, or just don’t realize, that the changes to this roster will change 3 dozen times before the first snap. Then, there will be the final 50 some odd players plus a practice squad, then there will be several more guys released, and the changes will continue throughout the season.

    I think they’ll get a TE from the cuts coming from training camp…someone good enough, if not a few more. The same linebacker depth and maybe even a safety.

    The panic positionally at this point reminds of several years ago when the Sox didn’t have a shortstop for the major league club….in like December! The whole city was going nuts as if the Sox were going to take the field day 1 of the season and not have a shortstop and only be playing with 8 defenders. It’s absurd…this is only one stage of the process…long way to go.

  4. hdh says:

    Wow – watched some video of Stephen Houston from Indiana and he looks to be a real “keeper”! Should be interesting….

    • Dan says:

      He’ll have to be good at special teams or a star runner to knock off one of the other guys. I give him 50% odds on making the club.

  5. J H TARBORO says:

    Camp will be ultra competitive. Veterans are on alert!!!

  6. Jack Trudel says:

    Should the UDFAs the Pats signed be considered a part of a team’s final draft? I say good question. True, they weren’t taken in the draft. According to the consensus of team personnel they weren’t good enough, or else they were overlooked for one reason or another.

    If a team identifies a number of adequate, good or exceptional players they feel were passed over, they must sort out the players who could help them the most and then in a frenzy sign them before the other 31 teams can latch on to them. Okay, nothing new here. What’s the point?

    As we saw from this year’s draft, the UDFAs may be the most important aspect of the final tally. Since they went undrafted the teams don’t have to pay them much over minimum wage ala NFL standards. Cumulatively this can amount to hundreds of millions of dollars over the lives of an entire draft class. In assessing the Pat’s draft it looks like the team may have spent as much time in past months on who they needed to acquire in the first hour following the draft.

    From a raw numbers POV, Donnie Ballentine, this year’s Mister Irrelevant, was pick number 256 for the Texans who coincidentally had the first pick in the draft. But how many players were eligible? If we count only seniors from div I and II schools and ignore juniors, dropouts, foreign athletes and high schoolers who didn’t go to college, this year it was an estimated 3,500 players.

    So, IMHO the most important part of the draft is who wasn’t drafted, and signing undrafted free agents is. The chosen ones, the 256 taken , were analyzed ad nauseam in the local and national sports media. Odds are there has to be seven diamonds in the rough, the equivalent of those seven draft picks in value relevant to an individual team’s needs, waiting for someone to discover them. I give the Pats credit for being one of the best at this.

  7. steve earle says:

    Great job here Mike, very good breakdown. Given that you have Stork as the only lock at OC what do you feel the chances are that BB tries to restructure Connolly’s contract or even release then resigh him as insurance?

  8. Jack says:

    If Ryan can make the jump to safety, that would be killer-awesome. No weakness in the DB. What I liked most about the draft is the OLs they picked up. IL was an area of concern, and between the 3 guys they drafted, hopefully one or two can step up and grab a starter spot. Fleming as a backup tackle frees up Canon to finally move inside, strengthening the guard position – and Halapio could also compete for starting spot and/or provide a capable backup at guard. I’d like to see Stork or Connelly start at center from day 1, due to Wendell’s lightness and apparent inability to cope with larger interior rushers.

    Garoppolo was a great value pickup where he was, as Houston was very likely to grab him. QB was a vulnerable position – what if Brady gets hurt? What if he suddenly starts to drop off in quality of play? It would have been irresponsible not to address that. They got a winner and a game manager with an accurate arm, esp. in the short game. Most importantly, he’s smart and has a terrific release.

    On Easly, I love the pick. Great value, as Seattle was ready to pounce if he fell to them. I’ve actually read that he could come of the ACL surgeries stronger than before, similar to Tommy John surgery. In any case, he bounced back from the first one quickly and was turning in quality games when the second hit. He’s definitely the player I’m most excited about for next year. He can be incredibly disruptive from the interior and lives in the backfield. He’s relentless and he’s so fast, sometimes they just can’t block the guy. Very excited to see the interior pressure this guy can provide.

  9. Dylan.C says:

    Brandon Browner will not count against the roster at the final cut downs because of his suspension, which will allow the pats to have an “extra” sport on the 53 man roster the first 4 weeks.

    I hope they use it to keep an extra WR the first few weeks and see how people preform during the regular season. Should be some stiff competition for the last two spots.

  10. kdog says:

    From my inexpert viewpoint, it was a good draft. I believe the goal of a draft ought to be amassing value, and that’s what they seem to have done here. The teams that seem to lose out in the draft are those that chase after players due to perceived immediate needs.

    1) Easley looks to be a great value proposition as long as the probability of his returning to health is decent (let’s say >50%). From what I have read, it feels like the probability is closer to the 80% range or better, but that those last 20% of downside risk scared teams off. But given his immense talent, it makes cold, hard sense to grab him @ #29. ‘Course all this is hindsight; my choice would have been Bridgewater.

    2) Love the Garrapolo pick. Following Mallet these last few years, I have come to the conclusion that even if he pulls it together passing-wise, he would not be a suitable successor to TB12, who is a great player but even more a great team leader and heart of a championship squad. Mallet just doesn’t have that kind of make-up, and Garropolo does. Plus he is a QB who shapes up to be a good game manager. Those guys win. In any case, this was a great value proposition at #62. I thought he’d go in the 25-40 range.

    3) Stork seems awesome, although there is an injury risk. . . has the markings of another good gamble.

    4) The rest of these guys look like an assortment of possibilities and risks. . . add a bunch of the UDFAs to the same category. I have no clue what will happen, but I like the fact that we have a large number of players in the batch . . . let a handful emerge!

    5) What about needs? Well, we still need a TE and an OLB, from where I sit. They will keep looking. But the fact that we still have these holes only underscores my enthusiasm: we didn’t make the mistake of chasing after guys to fill holes.

  11. Dan says:

    I’m curious to read an article about the health of Kelly, Wilfork and Easley. Is Wilfork moving around, how’s his weight, what’s his projection as far as being ready to play??? The same with Kelly…how does he look now? We fans don’t get to see this and I figure this would be valuable info going forward; I know I would appreciate it. Obviously, I wondering if Easley will be ready or the put him on the half-season PUP, or whatever. I don’t agree that because he was taken so high he will have to play; I feel that they see him as a hopeful contributor this year for sure, but I doubt they are desperate for him to be ready day 1 of the season…not in our division. Even if they see him as sitting out the year, which I doubt, it would still make great sense to have taken him if they felt that he was a top 10 type talent that needed the year to heal properly and get back to playing shape.
    If he’s in camp, or the weight room, it would be nice to hear what you see on these players that are pivotal to the teams make-up; and add Armstead to this list please. We keep hearing about him, but what are you SEEING? We fans don’t get that perspective. Are these guys in the tub and trainers room all day or are they moving around fine and pumping iron…looking ready, for example?

  12. Trevor says:

    Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley, Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead, Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga

    I would expect those guys to make the roster or one of Kelly/Jones/Siliga will get cut.

    • steve earle says:

      Did you forget Vollano or have you discounted him already because I think he will be more likely on that bubble then Kelly?

      • Jeff M says:

        I think we would ALL like to forget Joe Vellano…especially the fact that he was our starting DT at one point last year.

        I’m fairly sure Belichick wants to forget it as well…which is why I’m hoping he will be one of the first cuts on our team…that guy was such garbage to the point that I could barely watch when he was on the field.

    • Matt says:

      You think Chris Jones who had 6 sacks last year will get cut?

  13. Dan Sullivan says:

    Very much liked the way BB handled this draft he knew the players well and could talk
    at ease of their strengths and how they could help the team.

    My Favorite draft picks of the Pats.
    James White RB Wisconsin
    Jon Halapio G Florida
    Zach Moore DE Concordia

    Favorite UDFA
    Cameron Gordon LB Michigan
    Deontae Skinner LB Mississippi St.
    Stephen Houston RB Indiana

    Very Much look forward to Wilfork ,Jones and Easley at Defensive Tackles.

    Overall rating for Draft and UDFA after a lot of studying is A- still would have liked to draft
    a Tight End but am impressed with the UDFA there will be plenty of competition.

  14. Mike says:

    Ninkovich could serve as depth at OLB as well. Would rather him at DE, but we have more depth there and none at OLB. I think if Mayo or Collins went down, right now Ninkovich would stand up and another DE would step in.

    Also it’s only highlights but Jemea Thomas looks like a football player. Not sure his best position, but he looks like he belongs. He makes a perfect form and wrap tackle just about every time. Never just lowers his shoulder. At the very least I think he pushes (hate to say it as a Buckeye fan) Ebner off the roster for special teams

    • steve earle says:

      I was really disappointed that a LB ( I had Christian Jones on my mock) wasn’t picked up in the mid rounds. Keeping in mind that for every rookie that makes other teams a vet must be cut so Bill will be watching the waver wires as he always does. Still there are 27 teams in line ahead of us for any claim he should make but maybe one or two will slip through.

  15. Russell says:

    Very well done break down. OT-R.J. Mattes played very well last preseason before a leg injury, so will see how he goes this year, but a P-Squad guy for sure. I think you may see Cameron Fleming move inside to OG, after watching some tape of him.
    RB Ridley will be on the bus outta New England as well as Danny Aiken, Will Svitek, Tavon Wilson, Jake Bquette, and James Develin.

    I agree James Morris looks like a roster player, and I think Jeremy Deering makes the team as well. The Patriots need a kick-off return guy, Deering or Gallon (tho Gallon looks like a P-Squad guy) may get that duty.

    • steve earle says:

      Not convinced Devlin is a gonner just yet. He did well in many sub pkg’s last season, good lead blocker in short yardage and as H-bach. I’ll wait and see.

  16. I dont think Pats will enter the season with 0 fullbacks, last season Develin was a key part of the running game, even if they keep 3 QBs.

  17. Michael M. says:

    It should be interesting to see where the Patriots view Thomas’ positional future. I consider him a safety first who can play CB in a pinch, particularly with their sub packages. Of course, that’s not where he’ll be making his money on since he has to win a roster spot primarily for special teams play.

  18. Big w says:

    We need two linebackers and at least one TE and a true strong safety what ever that takes . Armstead could play DE he did it in college and in CFL where the field is 15 yards wider so he can move. Stephen Houston should bump out one of the RB’s he is quite impressive. We need some depth a LB we can’t expect to get through the year with three starters and a bunch of FA draft picks.

    • Bobthebuilder says:

      I think Easley could play DE too. Very quick first step and only 288 pounds. Not to mention he played it a bit in college.

      • steve earle says:

        Easley probably could play some DE though where an equal need for an inside rusher is there I’d expect it less likely they will try to retrain him at least in his rookie year, but who knows?

  19. Trev says:

    Great breakdown. The thing that caught my eye was the fact that they gave Gordon $20,000. That’s a signigicant bonus for an UDFA. What do you know about this guy? Does he have a decent skillset to play OLB in the NFL? Also, there have been rumors that we signed Joe Don Duncan, TE, as an UDFA. Any truth to that? He could provide good competition. All in all, I like the state of our roster right now. Good depth aside from a few spots. I think this was the right draft to grab a QB, and I’m glad they got Garappolo. It sounds like they really, really like him. Good stuff, Mike.

  20. Joe says:

    Awesome read. Cannot wait for next season.






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