Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection: Can Fifth Running Back Make Team?

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Before the New England Patriots break for nearly six weeks, let’s take one more look at the 90-man roster.

Here’s who we project to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster following organized team activities and minicamp:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Tom Brady
Jacoby Brissett
Jimmy Garoppolo

There was a thought, if only a brief one, that Brissett wouldn’t be guaranteed a roster spot if he didn’t improve in Year 2. Quarterback Kevin O’Connell was drafted in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft and was waived the next summer. Brissett certainly has shown enough already to make the 2017 squad.

RUNNING BACKS (4)
Rex Burkhead
Mike Gillislee
Dion Lewis
James White

There’s a decent chance Brandon Bolden or D.J. Foster makes the 53-man roster. Finding room for either is too difficult at this point, however.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
Danny Amendola
Brandin Cooks
Julian Edelman
Chris Hogan
Malcolm Mitchell
ST Matthew Slater

It likely would take an injury for any other receiver to make the roster, though Devin Lucien, Andrew Hawkins and Austin Carr have impressed this spring.

TIGHT ENDS (4)
Dwayne Allen
FB James Develin
Rob Gronkowski
James O’Shaughnessy

O’Shaughnessy has the edge over Jacob Hollister, Matt Lengel and Sam Cotton for the third tight end role. Allen struggled this spring, but he’s not at risk of losing his job at this point.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
David Andrews
Marcus Cannon
Cameron Fleming
Antonio Garcia
Ted Karras
Shaq Mason
Nate Solder
Joe Thuney

We don’t have Conor McDermott making the roster at this point, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Patriots cut a sixth-round pick and keep undrafted free agents.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
DT Alan Branch
DT Malcom Brown
DE Kony Ealy
DE Trey Flowers
DT Lawrence Guy
DE Rob Ninkovich
DE Derek Rivers
DT Vincent Valentine
DE Deatrich Wise Jr.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Geneo Grissom make the team for his special teams prowess. He was cut last September before latching on with the practice squad then re-signing to the main roster, however.

LINEBACKERS (6)
Dont’a Hightower
Brandon King
Harvey Langi
Shea McClellin
Elandon Roberts
Kyle Van Noy

Langi is making enough plays in training camp to make the roster over Jonathan Freeny.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)
CB Malcolm Butler
S Patrick Chung
S Nate Ebner
CB Stephon Gilmore
S Duron Harmon
CB Cyrus Jones
CB Jonathan Jones
S Devin McCourty
S Jordan Richards
CB Eric Rowe

We have Cyrus Jones making the team for now if only because Justin Coleman and the undrafted free agents haven’t shown enough during the spring to give up on the 2016 second-round pick. If Coleman, Kenny Moore, Dwayne Thomas or D.J. Killings shine in training camp, however, that could and should change. Jones has struggled in special teams drills and hasn’t stood out as a cornerback.

SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
P Ryan Allen
LS Joe Cardona
K Stephen Gostkowski

The Patriots don’t have any backup specialists.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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