Jamie Collins, Chris Jones, Austin Collie Move Up Patriots’ Projected Depth Chart After Injuries

Kevin Ogletree , Jamie Collins, Steve GregoryFOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots’ depth chart appears to be constantly changing this season.

One week, Dont’a Hightower will be receiving the bulk of the team’s nickel snaps and the next week, that’s Brandon Spikes‘ role. One week, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley will be sharing snaps at running back, then the next week, Ridley looks back to being an every-down back.

Since the Patriots’ official depth chart is, uh, not so accurate, it’s worthwhile to compile a more-correct projected version. Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork‘s season-ending injuries change matters, as well.

Check out the updated projected depth chart below.

(Italics indicates injured.)

Quarterback: Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett

Brady has had his struggles this season, but I suppose he’s good enough to stay at the top of the depth chart.

Running back: Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Leon Washington

Ridley earned back his role as the every-down back in his return last week. Blount and Bolden will still get their carries, but this is Ridley’s backfield.

Third-down back: Bolden, Washington

While Shane Vereen is out, Bolden is the go-to third-down back. He’s had his fair share of drops, though. We may see Ridley play more on third down moving forward.

Fullback: James Develin, Michael Hoomanawanui

Develin continues to get a solid set of reps every game. He’s even started four games.

Wide receiver: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Austin Collie, Josh Boyce, Matthew Slater

With Amendola out, Edelman moves back to the top of the depth chart, even though Dobson and Thompkins led the receiving group in snaps in Week 6. Collie appeared to have passed Boyce on the depth chart in Week 6.

Slot receiver: Amendola, Edelman, Collie, Boyce

The Patriots have a solid corps of slot receivers. Amendola, Edelman and Collie are all injury prone, but at least one should be able to stay healthy at all times.

Tight end: Rob GronkowskiHoomanawanui, Matthew Mulligan, Develin

Gronkowski may be back this weekend, which could bump one of these players off the roster. If not, it at least slides them down the depth chart.

Left Tackle: Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Will Svitek

As Solder has moved to tight end the past few weeks, Cannon has come in to play left tackle. That slides Svitek further down the depth chart.

Right Tackle: Sebastian VollmerCannon, Svitek

Cannon has taken the majority of his reps at right tackle through his career.

Guard: Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Cannon, Chris Barker, Svitek

Once again, Cannon is the main backup. He may be forced to play this weekend as Connolly recovers from a concussion. Connolly practiced on Thursday and Friday, though, so he could also get the starting nod.

Center: Ryan Wendell, Connolly, Barker

If Wendell went down, Connolly would probably slide over to center with Cannon playing right guard.

Defensive end: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Michael Buchanan, Jake Bequette

Bequette was wearing a black practice player of the week jersey, but Buchanan has still been getting snaps over him all season. Bequette has been active for four games this season.

Defensive tackle: Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano, Chris Jones, Marcus Forston, Andre Neblett

With Kelly out, Vellano and Jones have emerged as starters. Once Kelly comes back, it will be interesting to see who remains as a starter. Kelly can play the nose and under tackle positions, so it will be up to Bill Belichick to decide if he wants Vellano (a nose tackle) or Jones (an under tackle) to start. All three will still get snaps.

Third-down interior rusher: Jones, Buchanan

Jones has been the main third-down interior rusher, but Buchanan got some snaps there last Sunday.

Linebacker: Dont’a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher, Chris White, Steve Beauharnais

With no more Jerod Mayo, Hightower takes the top spot on the linebacker depth chart as the most balanced player left at the position. I will assume Collins is going to be the No. 3 linebacker, though Fletcher could get some reps, as well.

Cornerback: Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Marquice Cole

With Talib hurt, Dennard may have to move up to the No. 1 corner spot. Devin McCourty may have to move back down to cornerback this week. If not, Ryan will be the No. 3 player on the depth chart.

Safety: Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Cole, Nate Ebner

Harmon remains the backup at safety. The rookie has been impressive in limited time.

Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski

Punter: Ryan Allen

Longsnapper: Danny Aiken

Kick returner: Washington, Blount, Slater, McCourty, Boyce

Punt returner: Edelman, WashingtonAmendola, Thompkins, Boyce

Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here.

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