With seven practices — including two in pads and three walkthroughs — in the books, though, let's give it a shot. After this, expect a new roster prediction every Friday, and there could be more depending on the way things continue to pan out.
Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
Note: Hoyer will be Brady's immediate backup. Mallett has had a tough start to camp, but it's to be expected for a rookie quarterback, especially in this offense. There's no way the Patriots will be able to sneak him onto the practice squad, so they'll have to keep him if they like him.
Running Backs (5):
Kevin Faulk, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead
Note: As long as Faulk shows that he can physically contribute, it's a no-brainer to keep him on the team in a leadership role. Otherwise, Sammy Morris will be the guy.
Wide Receivers (6):
Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Chad Ochocinco, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Wes Welker
Note: This last spot came down between Price and Matthew Slater, and it would have been tough to cut either one. Price is all about offense, and Slater is all about special teams. Right now, Price has more long-term value, so he'll stay.
Tight Ends (3):
Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Lee Smith
Note: Don't completely rule out Alge Crumpler's return just yet, but the way Bill Belichick spoke about him Saturday made it sound like Crumpler is gone.
Offensive Linemen (9):
Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, Mark LeVoir, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Rich Ohrnberger, Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Ryan Wendell
Note: It sounds like Light should be back. If that's the case, Light, Mankins, Koppen, Connolly and Vollmer should start from left to right. Solder (left tackle), LeVoir (right tackle), Wendell and Ohrnberger (each can play all three interior positions) will be the backups.
Defensive Linemen (7):
Ron Brace, Albert Haynesworth, Kyle Love, Eric Moore, Myron Pryor, Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright
Note: Haynesworth looked extremely impressive through his first few reps Sunday, and if that's a sign of things to come, this line could be dominant.
Markell Carter, Jermaine Cunningham, Dane Fletcher, Gary Guyton, Jerod Mayo, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Spikes, Tracy White
Note: This came down to Carter and Marques Murrell, who are both situational edge rushers. Carter has more value as a defensive end in four-man fronts, which gives him the advantage at this point.
Kyle Arrington, Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler, Ras-I Dowling, Devin McCourty
Note: This is a pretty solid group. McCourty looks great so far, and Bodden has played well in camp, too. I'm curious to see what Dowling brings to the mix when he signs.
Sergio Brown, Patrick Chung, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders
Note: Jarrad Page could still walk through the door and join the team. Otherwise, a fifth spot could be open for Bret Lockett, Brandon McGowan or Josh Barrett.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, long snapper Matt Katula, punter Zoltan Mesko
Note: Gostkowski has been limited in training camp, but he should be fine in time for the regular season. Katula has been held out of practice with an injury, and Ninkovich has been long snapping. If Ninkovich does a good enough job in that department — he began his career as a long snapper — Katula might be out of a job.
On the Bubble (14):
Offensive lineman Thomas Austin, safety Josh Barrett, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, running back Thomas Clayton, defensive end Brandon Deaderick, wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, safety Bret Lockett, offensive lineman Steve Maneri, safety Brandon McGowan, running back Sammy Morris, linebacker Marques Murrell, defensive lineman Darryl Richard, wide receiver Matthew Slater, cornerback Jonathan Wilhite
Note: Cannon will be on the team in some capacity, but he'll either be placed on injured reserve or he'll stay on the physically unable to perform list.
A Little Further Away (8):
Tight end Carson Butler, defensive lineman Landon Cohen, defensive lineman Marlon Favorite, kicker Chris Koepplin, cornerback Thad Turner, defensive lineman Kade Weston, cornerback Malcolm Williams, tight end Will Yeatman
Note: The only chance Koepplin has of making the team would be if Gostkowski can't handle kickoff duty. The other seven might be candidates for the practice squad.
Long Shots (14):
Wide receiver Tyree Barnes, offensive lineman Mike Berry, quarterback Jonathan Crompton, wide receiver Buddy Farnham, offensive lineman Kyle Hix, running back Eric Kettani, defensive lineman Aaron Lavarias, defensive end Clay Nurse, wide receiver Jeremy Ross, defensive end Alex Silvestro, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, safety Ross Ventrone, defensive lineman Steve Williams, offensive lineman Corey Woods
Note: Barnes has had a good showing and could land on the practice squad if he keeps it up. Crompton, Farnham and Ventrone could join him.
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