2012 Patriots Roster Prediction: Doug Kyed 4.0

Mike Rivera, Jeff Tarpinian, Aaron Lavarias

The battle for the final linebacker slots is one. Could Mike Rivera make the 53 man roster? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

Friday was the last day of training camp for the Patriots, and therefore the last day that fans and the media could get a good look at this 2012 team in practice.

From here on out, we’ll only be able to judge how the roster will break down in games. That will be made easier since the Pats have three games in just ten days, with the first coming tonight against the Eagles.

I’m sure things will change after I see the order of the depth chart after the Eagles game, but here’s my weekly roster prediction.

QB: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett

No changes here, Mallett would have to have a tremendous end of the preseason to pass Hoyer on the depth chart.

Last man out: None

RB: Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Jeff Demps, Brandon Bolden (FB)

Demps is the biggest addition here, removing a fullback on my roster. Bolden has got snaps at FB in two RB sets since Larsen went down with injury and could be used there in Josh McDaniels’ FB-happy offense.

Demps could be used in a number of roles in the Patriots offense, but will likely start off strictly as a special teams player. He’s a one move-type back, and that sort of player should be best used as a kick returner in the NFL with his pure speed.

Last man out: Spencer Larsen

WR: Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater (ST)

Gaffney’s injury could shake things up here in the next few weeks, but assuming he gets back on the field and healthy, these are the six players I see making the roster. Branch is a Brady favorite, but so is Stallworth. They may only be a year apart, but Stallworth looks much younger on the field.

Last man out: Deion Branch

TE: Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells

Fells’ return spells doom for Visanthe Shiancoe. I never saw the Patriots carrying four tight ends, and with a solid training camp, Shiancoe at least had the chance of passing Fells. Shiancoe has been out nearly as long as Fells, and Fells is the more talented player.

Last man out: Alex Silvestro

OT: Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon

Vollmer’s return is huge for the Patriots, and it’s nice to see him come back this early in the preseason. That means he must be healthy and hopefully that can keep that up all year.

Last man out: Darrion Weems

OG: Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Dan Connolly (OC)

I still see Waters making it back in time for the start of the season. As much as the Patriots are saying they don’t know on Waters, my gut is that they’re hearing from him regularly and that he’s fully expected back.

Last man out: Donald Thomas

OC: Ryan Wendell (OG), Nick McDonald (OT, OG)

McDonald brings some nice versatility to the Patriots offensive line, especially with Vollmer’s injury history. The Patriots still don’t have a top notch center, but if you combine Wendell, Connolly and McDonald, you have a nice player.

Last man out: Dan Koppen

DT: Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Jonathan Fanene (DE), Brandon Deaderick (DE)

I have the Patriots going a bit shallow at the DT position, but they’ll also be running less “big” four man fronts this season with the inclusion of strong run defender Chandler Jones.

Last man out: Gerard Warren

DE/OLB/Elephant: Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Trevor Scott, Jake Bequette, Jermaine Cunningham

Justin Francis struggled against the Saints, and though he may have some more versatility than players like Bequette and Cunningham, I think the Patriots will take the risk to slip him through to the IR.

Last man out: Justin Francis

LB: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Bobby Carpenter, Mike Rivera, Tracy White

Mike Rivera was getting a lot of snaps against the Saints and should be a player to watch tonight against the Eagles. There’s going to be a battle for the fifth and sixth linebacker spots between Rivera, White, Koutouvides and Tarpinian. This position was a lot easier to predict before Dane Fletcher went out with an ACL tear.

Last man out: Niko Koutouvides

CB: Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore, Marquice Cole

Some fans might freak out without Dennard in here. The fact is that if he doesn’t come back extremely soon, he’s going to be on the outside looking in, and in my situation placed on injured reserve. The Patriots have three games in ten days, that means very little practice time before the start of the season and less reps for Dennard to take whenever he gets back on the field from his hamstring injury.

Last man out: Alfonzo Dennard

S: Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, James Ihedigbo

Ebner seems to be progressing well for the Patriots on defense, and he’s been taking first team snaps at special teams. Ihedibgo provides some needed depth at both safety positions, as well as being a first team special teamer. Will Allen is a tough cut, because I think he still has some left in the tank. The Patriots have plenty of players who can provide depth in the slot, and Allen is still new to the safety position.

Last man out: Will Allen

ST: Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken

No changes here, though Koepplin is a nice emergency kicker.

Last man out: Chris Koepplin

PUP: Jake Ballard, Myron Pryor, Markus Zusevics

These are the only three PUP eligible players left on the Patriots roster. It would be wise to keep all three there for depth purposes in week six. Wes Welker and Logan Mankins proved that it’s possible to come back from a late season ACL tear early in the next season.

IR: Dane Fletcher, Brad Herman, Jamey Richard, Alfonzo Dennard, Matt Kopa

Dennard and Kopa may be surprise additions here, but Belichick has proved in the past (Dowling, Koppen) that he’ll place players on IR even if they have the possibility of returning that season.

Left Squad: Tony Fiammetta

Practice Squad: Eric Kettani, Jeremy Ebert, Alex Silvestro, Darrion Weems, Marcus Forston, Justin Francis, Jeff Tarpinian, Ross Ventrone

This would be a pretty solid practice squad for the Pats. I kept Weems in there just because the Patriots have more depth on the interior of the line than they do at tackle. If Kopa can come back, he could be here as well in place of Weems.

Last man out: Jeremiah Warren

Last Five Cuts: Deion Branch, Dan Koppen, Gerard Warren, Will Allen, Donald Thomas

12 Responses to “2012 Patriots Roster Prediction: Doug Kyed 4.0”

  1. The roster and practice squad you have doesn’t list Kyle Hix anywhere. He was put on IR list last year comming to the Pats as undrafted free agent from Texas where he was starting LT. He is listed in Pats web site as back up LT behind Solder. Why is he not listed anywhere on your list??

    • Doug Kyed says:

      I don’t have him making my team. Kopa would be ahead of him as far as players that were there last year, and the fact that he’s been injured all camp won’t help him vs. the rookie tackles.

      He’d have to get healthy fast to make anything but the IR. Only so many spots on the roster, some guys get cut.

  2. Mac says:

    Very realistic. I can see Cole if Dennard goes to IR but not if it came down to cutting Dennard and keeping Cole.

    I think LB is tough and easily could see Tarpinian and Koutavides over White and Rivera. I just don’t see any upside for White and at some point his ST value is not enough.

    I have a sneaky suspicion Shiancoe makes the team. He got a good size bonus and I am pretty sure when they signed him they knews Fells would be ready so I think they planned all along to carry four TE’s. Prior to Demps I saw Shiancoe at the expense of a fullback and now perhaps at the expense of a LB or S. A major argument against is none of the four TE’s play much on ST’s. Yet, did they really give him that contract and bonus just to be there for the preseason?

    • qwerty says:

      I agree about Dennard. Cutting him would be a mistake if he doesn’t go to IR. He will not get by waivers.

      last slot in LB position is murky.

      Carrying 4 TE’s … that would surely be a surprise to almost everyone

  3. td says:

    You know the Pat’s have a stacked lineup when we are arguing over:

    1 4-5th WR’s,
    2 5th CB,
    3 perennially injured DL’s
    4 5th RB’s.

  4. JMC says:

    Branch, Faulk, Koppen, all great Patriots. Branch could sign with another team this year- Maybe even the Jets.

  5. Some bold predictions in here. I hope you’re wrong on a few of these, but for the most part it’s a very realistic prediction.

  6. Antmon says:

    You have cole on your projection and also on your last cuts. Doesn’t make sense.

  7. trent says:

    interesting reminder–

    the nfl is still looking to add the new IR rule this year that allows each team to designate one IR player as eligible to return after 8 weeks.

    hopefully this gets approved by the nflpa because it would work well for the pats this year for dennard–give a STer (Cole) his spot for the first half and see what he can do. then put dennard back in at week 9 (well, week 10 since 9 is a bye) to try to boost the DB talent if necessary.

    I believe the IR rule brings the player back to practice after 6 weeks, then dennard would have 2 weeks after that with the bye week–giving him a month to get back into things before a game.

    the alternative to using this rule on dennard would be to use it on fanene if he isn’t healed by opening week–give his spot to another big man, maybe brace to give him one last shot to prove himself. Then we have both pryor and fanene ready to take over mid-season if the four DTs on the roster can’t handle the load (yes, I too am struggling between keeping 4 or 5 big men on the roster…).

    just thought I’d lay out those situations, as they would solve some of my current roster ‘concerns’ and perhaps yours. just need the rule to get passed now!!

    • AM says:

      Hopefully, if they pass the rule later in the preseason or early in the season, they will allow retroactive designations. I think this would be a great way to manage Dennard.

  8. SmashmouthD says:

    I expect Branch will make the team over Bolden who they will try to slip onto the PS… they just don’t use their RBs enough, Hernandez can fill the role as we saw last year, and McD loves going 5 wide too much to not carry every WR they can that knows the system.

    They will also go with at least one more D-lineman, but it may be a surprise as to who, Harrison or Forston may eek out a spot over Warren based on youth and upside… most likely Cole or Ihedigbo will be out if Ebner can continue to show his worth on the field.

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