Patriots Projected Depth Chart: Aaron Dobson Climbing Receiver Ranks

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Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell ThompkinsFOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots don’t always play by the rules.

The Patriots are supposed to update their unofficial depth chart, but one quick look at Patriots.com shows that it’s wildly outdated — Ryan Wendell, Danny Amendola and Joe Vellano are not starters through two weeks of the regular season

Because the Patriots don’t keep track of their starters, NESN.com tries to update a projected depth chart throughout the season based on how players are used during regular season games. Here’s how we see the depth chart shaking out entering Week 3:

QUARTERBACK

Tom Brady
Jimmy Garoppolo

Brady didn’t even come out of Sunday’s game when the Patriots had a 30-7 lead. He’s not about the relinquish the starting role.

RUNNING BACK

Stevan Ridley
Shane Vereen
Brandon Bolden
James White

Ridley has 33 carries to Vereen’s 13. It’s obvious that the LSU product is the Patriots’ bell cow running back.

THIRD-DOWN BACK

Shane Vereen
Brandon Bolden
James White

White was praised by his teammates and coaches this summer, but he’s behind Bolden on the depth chart and hasn’t been active for a game yet.

FULLBACK

James Develin
Michael Hoomanawanui

Develin sees some snaps at tight end, as well, but he’s primarily a fullback in the Patriots’ offense.

WIDE RECEIVER

Julian Edelman
Brandon LaFell
Danny Amendola

Aaron Dobson
Kenbrell Thompkins
Matthew Slater

The Patriots are mixing and matching different wide receiver combinations constantly, but Edelman is the team’s No. 1 receiver. LaFell saw the second-most snaps among receivers against the Vikings, followed by Dobson and Amendola. LaFell played 38 reps, but he was mostly used as a blocker. Dobson was inactive in Week 1, while Amendola netted the second-most snaps. The Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart probably will change on a week-to-week basis.

Dobson should continue to see more snaps and targets moving forward.

TIGHT END

Rob Gronkowski
Michael Hoomanawanui
Tim Wright

Hoomanawanui actually has received more snaps than Gronkowski so far this season, but that should change as the season progresses and Gronk fully regains his health and mobility.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Nate Solder
Sebastian Vollmer

Cameron Fleming

Solder and Vollmer are the starters, but Belichick is going out of his way to give Fleming reps by using him as a sixth offensive lineman at tight end.

GUARD

Marcus Cannon
Jordan Devey

Josh Kline

Cannon and Devey have been the starters, while Dan Connnolly also has seen snaps at right guard as he moves over from center.

CENTER

Dan Connolly
Ryan Wendell

Bryan Stork

Stork was active in Week 2, while Wendell sat out with a knee injury. When Wendell is healthy, he should be the No. 2 center and could rotate snaps with Devey/Connolly.

INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

Vince Wilfork
Sealver Siliga
Dominique Easley
Chris Jones
Joe Vellano

The Patriots have used two 320-plus-pound defensive tackles on early downs in their regular defense with Wilfork and Siliga. Easley and Jones were used more on passing downs Sunday against the Vikings. That rotation should continue throughout the season.

EDGE RUSHER

Chandler Jones
Rob Ninkovich

Michael Buchanan
Zach Moore

Jones, Ninkovich and Dont’a Hightower have played on the edge for the Patriots through two weeks. Buchanan has been inactive as he nurses an ankle injury, while Moore also hasn’t received a single snap on defense.

LINEBACKER

Jerod Mayo
Dont’a Hightower

Jamie Collins
Deontae Skinner
Chris White

Skinner was thrust into a starting role when Collins didn’t make the trip to Minnesota. The rookie is firmly behind Mayo, Hightower and Collins on the depth chart, however.

CORNERBACK

Darrelle Revis
Alfonzo Dennard
Logan Ryan
Kyle Arrington
Malcolm Butler

Ryan started while Dennard sat out with a shoulder injury Sunday. Ryan played very well and could push Dennard for the starting role. Veteran Brandon Browner will be back in Week 5, further complicating the Patriots’ cornerback depth chart.

SAFETY

Devin McCourty
Patrick Chung
Duron Harmon
Tavon Wilson
Nate Ebner
Don Jones

Chung, Harmon and Wilson have rotated at the strong safety position, though Chung has seen over 58 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps. Ebner has earned a role in dime packages as a safety/linebacker hybrid.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Stephen Gostkowski
P Ryan Allen
LS Danny Aiken

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