Training camp is over, and the Patriots are halfway through the preseason, meaning the roster battles are really coming into focus. Here is our latest edition of roster predictions, and check back every Friday for NESN.com's updated version.
Defensive Linemen (7)
Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright, Gerard Warren, Damione Lewis, Myron Pryor, Brandon Deaderick, Ron Brace
Note: Brace returned Sunday and forced a fumble in his preseason debut on Thursday. He replaced Ty Warren here after Warren was placed on injured reserve.
Jerod Mayo, Tully Banta-Cain, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Tyrone McKenzie, Jermaine Cunningham, Derrick Burgess, Rob Ninkovich, Marques Murrell
Note: Burgess' return knocks Pierre Woods off the 53-man roster. Also watch out for inside linebacker Eric Alexander, who has played pretty well over the last week.
Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Terrence Wheatley
Note: Wheatley is one of the surprise performers of camp, virtually locking up a roster spot.
Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Patrick Chung, Brandon McGowan
Note: Same old song and dance with these four.
Offensive Line (9)
Matt Light, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Sebastian Vollmer, Dan Connolly, Mark LeVoir, Ted Larsen, Ryan Wendell, George Bussey
Note: The starting offensive line has been able to hold its own, but the second unit looks porous. When a team loses Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur, it can only expect to stay afloat for so long. The Patriots can't afford any more injuries along the line.
Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer
Note: Hoyer showed up with a left knee brace Thursday but didn’t play like a man in any pain. Still, it's something to monitor.
Wide Receivers (6)
Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Sam Aiken, Brandon Tate, Taylor Price
Note: Now that the questions around Torry Holt have ended, this looks like the six players who are set to make the team.
Running backs (4)
Fred Taylor, Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk
Note: Taylor had a mighty fine performance against the Falcons, adding even more uncertainty to a race that looks like a dead heat.
Tight ends (3)
Rob Gronkowski, Alge Crumpler, Aaron Hernandez
Note: Gronkowski and Hernandez showed a glimpse of their value in Atlanta. These kids can play.
Note: Gostkowski isn’t going to be happy with his miss Thursday night, but it was at least negated when he drew a personal foul. It proves the old adage: If you can't convert, contort.
Note: Mesko averaged 42.8 yards per punt in four attempts Thursday in Atlanta.
Long Snapper (1)
Note: Not much to add here.
On the Bubble (10)
Linebacker Eric Alexander, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, safety Bret Lockett, defensive lineman Kyle Love, offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, defensive lineman Darryl Richard, wide receiver Matthew Slater, offensive lineman Thomas Welch, linebacker Thomas Williams, outside linebacker Pierre Woods
A Little Further Away (3)
Linebacker Dane Fletcher, offensive lineman Eric Ghiaciuc, defensive tackle Kade Weston
Long Shots (13)
Safety Josh Barrett, safety Sergio Brown, tight end Carson Butler, running back Thomas Clayton, wide receiver Buddy Farnham, wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, cornerback Terrence Johnson, tight end Rob Myers, wide receiver Rod Owens, quarterback Zac Robinson, offensive lineman Brian Simmons, running back Chris Taylor, defensive back DeAngelo Willingham
Left guard Logan Mankins
Projected to Miss Due to Injury (PUP or IR)
Offensive lineman Nick Kaczur