Patriots Final 53-Man Roster Projection: Injuries Force Tough Cuts At Receiver

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The New England Patriots must cut down their roster to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m., and injuries suffered Thursday made the process a bit more complicated.

The Patriots suffered injuries at wide receiver, running back, linebacker and offensive tackle. See how our Patriots beat writers Doug Kyed and Zack Cox work around those ailments in their final 53-man roster projection of the summer.

QUARTERBACK
Doug Kyed
In: Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo (2)
Suspended: Tom Brady (four games)

Out: None

No changes here. Brissett was impressive again, so there’s no need for another quarterback on the roster.

Zack Cox
In: Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo (2)
Suspended: Tom Brady (four games)
Out: None
This is locked in. I’ve seen enough from Brissett this preseason to convince me he can be a serviceable backup for the next month.

RUNNING BACK
Kyed
In: LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, James Develin, D.J. Foster, James White (5)
Out: Tyler Gaffney, Joey Iosefa
PUP:
Dion Lewis
Foster was a standout Thursday despite a fumble. Couple that with Gaffney’s injury, and this decision might have become easier for the Patriots.

Cox
In: LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, James Develin, D.J. Foster, James White (5)
Out: Tyler Gaffney, Joey Iosefa
PUP: Dion Lewis
Bill Belichick hates when his running backs fumble, especially in the red zone, as Foster did Thursday night. But that one miscue aside, the undrafted rookie looked great against the Giants — probably good enough to earn a spot even if Gaffney hadn’t gone down.

WIDE RECEIVER
Kyed
In: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Keshawn Martin, Malcolm Mitchell, Aaron Dobson, Matthew Slater (6)
Out: DeAndre Carter, Chris Harper
PUP: Danny Amendola
Injured reserve: Devin Lucien

It’s been over a month, and Amendola hasn’t practice yet. He looks healthy, but he looked healthy during the spring too. I have no idea if he’ll be placed on PUP. If Dobson is traded before the 53-man cut, Harper likely would take his spot. The Patriots need an additional healthy receiver, however, with Martin and Mitchell banged up.

Cox
In: Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Keshawn Martin, Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Slater (6)
Out: DeAndre Carter, Chris Harper, Devin Lucien
PUP: Danny Amendola

When Martin got healthy, this decision became easier. Now he’s hurt again, which puts us back at square one. The Amendola situation also complicates things. The Patriots obviously don’t want him to miss the first six weeks (which would happen if he starts the season on PUP), but it’s concerning that we haven’t seen him practice once this summer. I’m stumped. I’ll say he goes to PUP and Dobson and Martin both stick, but I don’t feel particularly confident about that prediction.

TIGHT END
Kyed

In: Martellus Bennett, A.J. Derby, Rob Gronkowski (3)
Out: Clay Harbor, Bryce Williams

Harbor hasn’t done enough this summer to warrant a roster spot.

Cox
In: Martellus Bennett, A.J. Derby, Rob Gronkowski (3)
Out: Clay Harbor, Bryce Williams
Harbor barely saw the field Thursday. Derby’s the guy.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Kyed

In: David Andrews, Marcus Cannon, Jonathan Cooper, Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, LaAdrian Waddle, Ted Karras (9)
PUP: Sebastian Vollmer, Tre’ Jackson
Out: Chris Barker, Cameron Fleming, Jon Halapio

Fleming, not Waddle, came into the Patriots’ final preseason game when Solder went down with a leg injury. But Fleming has practice squad eligibility, while Waddle does not. Karras hasn’t necessarily proven he deserves a roster spot, but Cooper and Mason are still nursing injuries. If one or both gets healthy in the next 10 days, the Patriots could carry eight offensive linemen.

Cox
In: David Andrews, Marcus Cannon, Jonathan Cooper, Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Nate Solder, Ted Karras, Joe Thuney, LaAdrian Waddle (9)
PUP: Sebastian Vollmer, Tre’ Jackson
Out: Chris Barker, Cameron Fleming, Jon Halapio
Fleming getting the nod over Waddle was a curveball, but Waddle also saw significant playing time Thursday, and as Doug mentioned, the Patriots can stash Fleming on the practice squad. Cooper’s health is the big question mark for this unit, and Solder’s now is worth monitoring, too.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Kyed

In: Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers, Chris Long, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Anthony Johnson, Vincent Valentine (8)
Out: Woodrow Hamilton, Rufus Johnson, Joe Vellano, Markus Kuhn, Geneo Grissom

Kuhn playing into the second half of the Patriots’ final preseason game was telling. That’s usually not a good sign for a vet. Johnson adds another element to the defense.

Cox
In: Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers, Anthony Johnson, Chris Long, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Vincent Valentine (8)
Out: Geneo Grissom, Woodrow Hamilton, Rufus Johnson, Markus Kuhn, Joe Vellano
After the preseason Anthony Johnson had, I’m very confident he sticks around. Kuhn looked good early on, but he appears to be on the outside looking in.

LINEBACKER
Kyed
In: 
Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon King, Barkevious Mingo, Shea McClellin (7)
Out: 
Elandon Roberts, Kevin Snyder
Grugier-Hill provides enough upside and athleticism to keep around.

Cox
In: Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon King, Shea McClellin, Barkevious Mingo (7)
Out: Elandon Roberts, Kevin Snyder
Roberts fought through a mid-game injury to post a team-high nine tackles against the Giants, and I was tempted to give him the edge over fellow rookie Grugier-Hill. The Pats seem to love Grugier-Hill on special teams, though, so I say they begrudgingly sent Roberts to the practice squad.

CORNERBACK
Kyed
In: Malcolm Butler, Justin Coleman, Cyrus Jones, Logan Ryan, Cre’Von LeBlanc (5)
Out: Darryl Roberts, Jonathan Jones

I don’t believe Roberts or Jones did enough Thursday to beat out LeBlanc, who is nursing a hip injury. If LeBlanc hits injured reserve, Jones would take his place if the Patriots are looking for a special-teamer. Roberts would take his place if they’re looking for a cornerback.

Cox
In: Malcolm Butler, Justin Coleman, Cyrus Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Logan Ryan (5)
Out: Jonathan Jones, Darryl Roberts
As long as LeBlanc’s injury isn’t serious, he actually might have helped his stock by not playing against the G-Men. Neither Jones nor Roberts stood out, and LeBlanc’s overall body of work has been the most impressive of the three.

SAFETY
Kyed
In: Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty, Jordan Richards (5)
Out: Vinnie Sunseri
There’s a slight possibility Richards gets cut, but would the Patriots really be willing to keep just four safeties?

Cox
In: Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty, Jordan Richards (5)
Out: Vinnie Sunseri
Yeah, Richards has not been particularly good this preseason, but the only chance he gets cut is if they go the four-safety route. Sunseri isn’t beating him out.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kyed
In: 
P Ryan Allen, LS Joe Cardona, K Stephen Gostkowski (3)

Cox
In: P Ryan Allen, LS Joe Cardona, K Stephen Gostkowski (3)

IDEAL PRACTICE SQUAD
Kyed: WR Carter, OT Fleming, RB Gaffney, DE Rufus Johnson, CB Jonathan Jones, LB Roberts, CB Roberts, TE Williams, DE Grissom, WR Harper
Cox: WR Carter, WR Lucien, LB Roberts, CB Jonathan Jones, OT Fleming, RB Gaffney, DE Grissom, CB Roberts, DE Rufus Johnson

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images

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