Patriots Post-Bye Depth Chart: Where Do Duke Dawson, Obi Melifonwu Fit In?

The New England Patriots have their work cut out for them over the final six weeks of the season.

The Patriots are 7-3 and fighting a battle on a slight incline to try to earn a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and, to a lesser degree, the Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Texans.

Here’s the team they’ll be working with. Let’s look at their post-bye week depth chart.

QUARTERBACK
Tom Brady
Brian Hoyer

Honest question: Would fickle Patriots fans be calling for Brady’s job after last Sunday’s performance if Jimmy Garoppolo was still on the team? The answer should be no but is probably yes.

RUNNING BACK
Sony Michel
Rex Burkhead (IR)
Cordarrelle Patterson

The Patriots will go one more week with depleted running back depth until Burkhead can return in time for Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings. When Burkhead comes back, he’ll cut into Michel’s carries, but we still expect the rookie to be the primary bell-cow runner.

SUB BACK
James White
Burkhead (IR)

Burkhead could also take some catches away from White on early downs. White should be the guy on third down, however.

FULLBACK
James Devevlin

He’s on an island here. It’s a gritty island. Lunchpail Island.

WIDE RECEIVER
Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon
Chris Hogan
Phillip Dorsett
Cordarrelle Patterson
Matthew Slater

Edelman and Gordon are wide receivers Nos. 1a and 1b on the Patriots. Hogan has been the No. 3 since Edelman returned and Gordon emerged. It’s possible Dorsett could start eating into Hogan’s snaps, however.

TIGHT END
Rob Gronkowski
Dwayne Allen
Jacob Hollister

Allen injured his knee in Week 10. He reportedly could miss some time, making Gronkowski’s expected return from back and ankle injuries in Week 12 all the more important.

OFFENSIVE LINE
LT Trent Brown, LG Joe Thuney, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Marcus Cannon
iOL Ted Karras, OT LaAdrian Waddle
iOL James Ferentz
OT Matt Tobin

Karras and Waddle have been solid backups so far this season. Mason missed two games with a calf injury. We’ll see if he can return in Week 12.

DEFENSIVE END
Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise
Keionta Davis
Adrian Clayborn
John Simon
Derek Rivers

Wise has started the Patriots’ last three games.

And yes, Davis does appear to be above Clayborn on the depth chart right now. Davis has played more snaps than Clayborn in every one of the Patriots’ last three games.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Lawrence Guy, Malcom Brown
Danny Shelton
Adam Butler

Shelton has taken a backseat to Guy and Brown in recent weeks. Butler is simply the Patriots’ sub interior rusher.

LINEBACKER
Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy
Elandon Roberts
Albert McClellan
Ramon Humber
Brandon King

The Patriots have added McClellan and Humber in recent weeks. They replace Nicholas Grigsby on the Patriots’ linebacker depth chart. McClellan and Humber are older and slower than Grigsby, but they’re better suited to play defense with more NFL experience.

CORNERBACK
Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty
Jonathan Jones
JC Jackson
Keion Crossen
Duke Dawson

We’ll put Dawson last on the Patriots’ cornerback depth chart for now, but don’t be surprised if he starts to eat into Jones’ slot snaps.

SAFETY
Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung
Duron Harmon
Nate Ebner
Obi Melifonwu

Melifonwu signed a two-year deal, and we wouldn’t be surprised if doesn’t receive significant defensive reps until 2019, if ever. He’s a massive presence at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, but he has just 34 NFL defensive snaps to his name.

SPECIAL TEAMS
K Stephen Gostkowski, P Ryan Allen, LS Joe Cardona

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images

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