FOXBORO, Mass. — It’s amazing how much can change in one week.
Since the last time we put together a projected depth chart, there have been injuries, cuts, signings and a couple key performances that shook up the Patriots’ roster. James Develin and Leon Washington were added to the roster, while A.J. Francis and Braxston Cave were cut, then added to the practice squad. Matthew Mulligan was signed, cut, then re-signed.
The Patriots don’t seem entirely set on a final 53-man roster, especially with so many injuries at tight end, wide receiver and running back. After Week 1, here’s how we see the updated depth chart:
(Italics indicates injured,
strikethrough indicates out.)
Quarterback: Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett
No changes here. The Patriots brought in some quarterbacks for workouts, but none of them stuck.
Running back: Stevan Ridley,
Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Leon Washington
Vereen had the chance to overtake Ridley, but an injury forced him onto short-term injured reserve. Ridley should be the first running back to touch the ball on Thursday night against the Jets. Brady needs some familiarity.
Vereen, Washington, Bolden
The Patriots may try to roll with their bell cow even more than usual with Vereen out. Washington’s best days as a running back are behind him.
Fullback: James Develin, Michael Hoomanawanui
Develin took all the fullback snaps on Sunday.
Wide receiver: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson, Matthew Slater
After a strong showing by Edelman and a rough debut from Thompkins, the Patriots should have a new No. 2 receiver when Amendola is able to take the field again. Edelman will likely be Brady’s go-to guy on Thursday night.
Slot receiver: Amendola, Edelman, Boyce
There’s not much difference at this point between the Patriots’ outside receivers and slot guys, but the team has an excess of shifty inside pass-catchers.
Tight end: Rob Gronkowski, Hoomanawanui, Zach Sudfeld, Matthew Mulligan, Develin
It’s amazing how shallow this position has gotten. Until Gronkowski comes back, Hoomanawanui should be the starter with Sudfeld (if healthy) and Mulligan as reserves.
Tackle: Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Will Svitek
When Solder went to play tight end, Cannon came in to play left tackle. Svitek is still dealing with a knee injury and may not be good to go against the Jets.
Guard: Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Cannon, Chris Barker, Josh Kline, Svitek
Connolly was the weakest link on the offensive line last week. There’s still a chance Cannon steals his spot at right guard before the season is over.
Center: Ryan Wendell, Connolly, Kline
If Wendell went down with an injury, some shake ups would occur along the offensive line.
Defensive end: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Michael Buchanan, Jake Bequette
This looked pretty clear cut on Sunday afternoon. Buchanan played 11 snaps to Bequette’s zero.
Defensive tackle: Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano
It still would not be surprising to see the Patriots bring in another veteran body here. Kyle Love is still out there.
Third-down interior rusher: Jones
On third down, the Patriots slid Jones over to defensive tackle and brought Buchanan in to play defensive end.
Linebacker: Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher, Steve Beauharnais, Chris White
Spikes left the field because of dehydration and Hightower took his spot in the nickel defense, which was essentially the Patriots’ base on Sunday. The team looked good with any combination of the three linebackers out there.
Cornerback: Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington, Alfonzo Dennard, Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Marquice Cole
For now, Arrington is still above Dennard on the depth chart. When the Patriots took their few snaps in the base 4-3, it was Arrington, not Dennard left on the field. Ryan was the team’s dime defensive back. If it came down to it, though, McCourty would likely slide down to cornerback before the Patriots would allow Ryan to start outside.
Safety: Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Cole, Nate Ebner
Even with Harmon hurt, I still think he’s ahead of Wilson. Wilson played just one snap in the Patriots’ opener.
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
Punter: Ryan Allen
Longsnapper: Danny Aiken
Kick returner: Washington, Blount, Slater, Boyce, McCourty,
Punt returner: Edelman, Washington, Amendola, Thompkins, Boyce,