If the New England Patriots are willing to get creative with injured players, they could create some additional roster spots in September.
That’s what we did in our post-minicamp 53-man roster projection by having two players start the season on the physically unable to perform list.
Check out the results below.
Tom Brady, Danny Etling, Brian Hoyer
Etling has shown enough in OTAs and minicamp to deserve a roster spot. He probably isn’t good enough to back up Brady, however.
RUNNING BACK (5)
Brandon Bolden, Rex Burkhead, FB James Develin, Sony Michel, James White
We’re only keeping five running backs in this iteration of a 53-man roster projection. That could change once training camp begins and Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee have more of a chance to stand out.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
Braxton Berrios, Kenny Britt, Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Matthew Slater
Suspended (pending): Julian Edelman
PUP: Malcolm Mitchell
Edelman’s pending suspension opens up a roster spot for a wide receiver. We’ll assume the oft-injured Mitchell will start the season on PUP until we actually see him participate in a drill. Britt looked impressive in OTAs and minicamp before injuring his hamstring.
TIGHT END (3)
Rob Gronkowski, Jacob Hollister, Will Tye
Both Hollister and Tye have looked better than Dwayne Allen through three weeks of spring practices.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
C David Andrews, OT Trent Brown, OT Marcus Cannon, OL Ted Karras, G Shaq Mason, G Joe Thuney, OT LaAdrian Waddle, OL Isaiah Wynn
Wynn’s versatility to play offensive tackle or guard could allow the Patriots to keep just eight offensive linemen.
DEFENSIVE LINE (8)
DT Malcom Brown, DT Adam Butler, DE Adrian Clayborn, DE Trey Flowers, DT Lawrence Guy, DE Derek Rivers, DT Danny Shelton, DE Deatrich Wise
We have Butler beating out Vincent Valentine for now. Butler provides a different look as an interior pass rusher.
Ja’Whaun Bentley, Marquis Flowers, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon King, Harvey Langi, Christian Sam, Kyle Van Noy
It was tough to pick two players to keep between Langi, Sam and Elandon Roberts. Langi and Sam could provide more special teams value than Roberts, who was on the field for just 54 special teams snaps last season.
Keion Crossen, Duke Dawson, Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, Eric Rowe
PUP: Jonathan Jones
We’re cheating a little bit by having Jones start the season on PUP. He suffered a lower leg injury late in the season and has only been limited to conditioning in spring practice thus far. If he does start the season on PUP, then it could allow the Patriots to keep Crossen and Jackson, both rookies.
Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty
The Patriots probably will keep five safeties, but they also could store David Jones and/or Damarius Travis on the practice squad for emergency purposes in lieu of rostering Jordan Richards.
P Ryan Allen, LS Joe Cardona, K Stephen Gostkowski
Rookie punter Corey Bojorquez has been impressive so far, but we have yet to see if he has the same precision as Allen.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images