Though Patriots head coach Bill Belichick previously has said he doesn’t fully know his team until November, we feel like we’ve got a pretty good sense of New England’s depth chart five weeks into the season.
Here’s how the Patriots’ roster stacks up after their 19-14 Week 5 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Taylor Heinicke (practice squad)
Brady is playing even better than he did last season so far this year. The picture of Garoppolo one day starting in a Patriots uniform is fading, “Back to the Future”-style.
James White – Mike Gillislee
White is the Patriots’ top pass-catching back, while Gillislee is the early-down and between-the-tackles runner. Lewis, in a small sample size, has been the Patriots’ best running back, while Burkhead has sat out since Week 2 with a rib injury. It will be interesting to see if Burkhead has more snaps than Lewis in Week 6 if he’s good to go.
TE Dwayne Allen
If Develin were to go down, then Allen likely would see snaps as a fullback in some situations.
Chris Hogan – Brandin Cooks – Danny Amendola
Malcolm Mitchell (injured reserve)
Cody Hollister (PS)
Riley McCarron (PS)
It will be interesting to see how Mitchell shakes up the Patriots’ depth chart if/when he returns from injured reserve. He could cut into the snaps of Hogan, Cooks, Amendola and especially Dorsett.
Gronkowski, despite missing a game, has 10 times as many receptions as Allen and Hollister combined.
LT Nate Solder – LG Joe Thuney – C David Andrews – RG Shaq Mason – RT Marcus Cannon
James Ferentz (PS)
Jason King (PS)
We put Fleming above Waddle because he’s been active for four games while Waddle has been active for just two. Waddle did start over Fleming when Cannon sat out with an injury, though, so ¯\_(?)_/¯.
Malcom Brown – Lawrence Guy
Vincent Valentine (IR)
Angelo Blackson (PS)
Branch was a healthy scratch in Week 5, so the Patriots used Adam Butler, an undersized undrafted rookie, as their third defensive tackle. The run defense numbers don’t show it, but Brown and Guy both have been extremely solid this season.
It was assumed that Mitchell and linebacker Shea McClellin would be the two players activated off of injured reserve after Week 8. Branch’s deactivation makes us wonder if Valentine will be activated instead of one of those players, however.
Trey Flowers – Adam Butler
Marsh already is taking on pseudo-starter snaps after coming over from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade.
Dont’a Hightower – Kyle Van Noy
Shea McClellin (IR)
Hightower began the season as a pass rusher/edge defender but played more in the middle in Week 5. Harris, who has just seven defensive snaps this season, currently is buried behind four linebackers on the depth chart.
Malcolm Butler – Stephon Gilmore
Ryan Lewis (PS)
Jomal Wiltz (PS)
Jones served as the Patriots’ No. 3 cornerback in Week 5 as Rowe was inactive with a groin injury. Bademosi has yet to take a defensive snap.
Devin McCourty – Duron Harmon – Patrick Chung
Damarius Travis (PS)
David Jones (PS)
Harmon actually has played 16 more defensive snaps than Chung so far this season. That’s a change from the last three years. McCourty has played more strong safety than usual.
K Stephon Gostkowski
P Ryan Allen
LS Joe Cardona
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images