Patriots Pre-Minicamp Depth Chart Projection Features Surprise At Cornerback

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The New England Patriots are taking a week-long hiatus from organized team activities to hold their three-day minicamp.

So, what’s the difference between OTAs and minicamp? Not a whole lot, except OTAs are voluntary and minicamp is mandatory and all minicamp sessions are open to the media. That means we’ll see Alan Branch back on the practice field behind Gillette Stadium.

Before minicamp begins Tuesday, here’s what the Patriots’ depth chart looks like:

QUARTERBACK
Starter: Tom Brady
Backups: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett
Garoppolo still isn’t any closer to stealing that starting job away from Brady.

RUNNING BACK
Starter: Mike Gillislee
Backups: Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, LeShun Daniels
Bolden received first-team reps during the first organized team activities session open to the media. That’s based on seniority, not reality. Gillislee still projects to be the starting early-down running back.

THIRD-DOWN BACK
Starter: James White
Backups: Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, D.J. Foster
White is the third-down back of today and for the foreseeable future.

FULLBACK
Starter: James Develin
Backup: Glenn Gronkowski
Baby Gronk bounced on and off the practice squad last season, so this is Develin’s job to lose.

WIDE RECEIVER
Starters: Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan
Backups: Malcolm Mitchell, Danny Amendola, Matthew Slater, Andrew Hawkins, Devin Lucien, DeAndrew White, Austin Carr, Cody Hollister
An injury would need to occur for Hawkins, Lucien, White, Carr or Hollister to make the roster. Lucien, White, Carr and Hollister have practice squad eligibility.

TIGHT END
Starter: Rob Gronkowski
Backups: Dwayne Allen, James O’Shaughnessy, Matt Lengel, Jacob Hollister, Sam Cotton
O’Shaughnessy and Lengel are taking reps over Hollister and Cotton for now, but the third tight end role is up for grabs behind Gronkowski and Allen.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Starters: LT Nate Solder, LG Joe Thuney, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Marcus Cannon
Backups: OT Cameron Fleming, G/C Ted Karras, OT Tony Garcia, OT LaAdrian Waddle, G Jamil Douglas, G Chase Farris, OT Conor McDermott, OT Max Rich, G Jason King, OT Cole Croston, OT Andrew Jelks
Douglas and Farris have legitimate chances to make the roster if the Patriots choose to keep an extra interior offensive lineman over a fifth offensive tackle.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Starters: DE Trey Flowers, DT Alan Branch, DT Malcom Brown, DE Rob Ninkovich
Backups: DE Kony Ealy, DL Lawrence Guy, DT Vincent Valentine, DE Geneo Grissom, DE Derek Rivers, DE Deatrich Wise, DT Woodrow Hamilton, DT Darius Kilgo, DE Corey Vereen, DT Josh Augusta, DT Adam Butler
Grissom is taking reps over rookies Rivers and Wise for now, but that could change by the summer.

LINEBACKER
Starters: Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts
Backups: Shea McClellin, Jonathan Freeny, Brandon King, Trevor Bates, Harvey Langi, Brooks Ellis
McClellin has a cap hit of over $3 million in 2017, so the Patriots have to hope he’s more effective in his second year with the team.

CORNERBACK
Starters: Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler
Backups: Jonathan Jones, Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones, Justin Coleman, D.J. Killings, Kenny Moore, Dwayne Thomas
Jonathan Jones took third cornerback reps during OTAs over Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Coleman. We’ll see if that sticks in minicamp this week.

SAFETY
Starters: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung
Backups: Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner, Jordan Richards, David Jones, Damarius Travis, Jason Thompson
Harmon almost certainly will play more snaps than the third cornerback during the 2017 season, regardless of who the third corner is.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Starters: K Stephen Gostkowski, P Ryan Allen, LS Joe Cardona
The Patriots don’t have reserve specialists.

Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images

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