The New England Patriots are six weeks into their 2016 campaign, which means head coach Bill Belichick must have a pretty good sense of what he has in his squad.
Belichick said early last month he wouldn’t really know his team until the middle of October. A layman’s take after six games and a 5-1 record: This group is pretty damn good.
We have a better sense of the Patriots’ depth chart after six weeks. Here’s how it currently looks.
Though appreciated, there turned out to be no reason for Belichick to get out ahead of any potential quarterback controversy this summer when he named Brady the Week 5 starter. This is Brady’s team.
Dion Lewis (PUP)
When Lewis returns, he’ll eat into Blount’s snaps, but Blount likely still will receive a fair share of carries.
Dion Lewis (PUP)
Lewis also will cut into White’s snaps in passing situations, but White still should have a role. Foster could either be headed to the practice squad or catch a bout of the Foxboro flu when Lewis is back.
The Patriots have Glenn Gronkowski on the practice squad as depth.
Julian Edelman – Chris Hogan
Danny Amendola – Malcolm Mitchell
Mitchell has played more snaps than Amendola this season, but Amendola received more snaps in Week 6. Edelman and Hogan are the clear No. 1a and 1b right now.
Gronkowski has received more snaps than Bennett in consecutive weeks. Bennett still has a big role on the Patriots, but Gronkowski is a level above him on the depth chart.
LT Nate Solder – RT Marcus Cannon
Fleming has proven to be a capable fill-in at both left and right tackle so far this season.
LG Joe Thuney – RG Shaq Mason
Tre’ Jackson (PUP)
The Patriots must love Karras. He’s beaten out Josh Kline and Jonathan Cooper to keep his spot on the roster. The Patriots might wait to activate Jackson until they need him. Right now, they have plenty of depth between the active roster and practice squad.
Karras and Thuney both can serve as emergency centers.
INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE
Malcom Brown – Alan Branch
Hamilton has served as a rotational defensive tackle with Valentine out. Johnson is a third-down interior rusher.
Jabaal Sheard – Chris Long
Ninkovich’s role is a bit yet to be determined in the Patriots’ defense. He’s an edge player, but plays both outside linebacker and defensive end. He also can play off-the-line linebacker in a pinch.
Dont’a Hightower – Jamie Collins
New England’s linebacker depth chart is a bit of a jumble right now. Ninkovich will play on defense more than Roberts moving forward, but will be play more linebacker? We’ll see.
Belichick also implied Mingo might play more than Roberts against teams that run pass-heavy offenses.
McClellin’s role on the Patriots is TBA. He seems buried at both defensive end and linebacker.
Malcolm Butler – Logan Ryan
Justin Coleman has been inactive for the past two weeks after beginning the season as the Patriots’ No. 3 cornerback. Cyrus Jones filled the role in Week 5, got ejected from the game and was inactive Sunday. Rowe played well in his Patriots debut Sunday.
Devin McCourty – Patrick Chung
Harmon is a pseudo-starter as a nickel safety.
Stephen Gostkowski – Ryan Allen – Joe Cardona
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images