Here’s our first way-too-early crack at a 2019 Patriots 53-man roster projection. In it, we have all but one draft pick making the 2019 squad.
(Rookies are italicized.)
Out: Danny Etling
Stidham, a fourth-round selection, takes over Etling’s spot as the Patriots’ developmental quarterback. That’s an upgrade, even if he takes up a 53-man roster spot.
RUNNING BACK (5)
Brandon Bolden ST
Out: Nick Brossette
The Patriots needed more running back depth last season when Michael and Burkhead suffered injuries, leading to Cordarrelle Patterson playing out of position. Third-round pick Harris provides that.
Out: Jakob Johnson
Johnson, a Germany native, likely will stick around on the practice squad, where he can take on an additional 11th spot as part of the NFL’s international gateway program.
WIDE RECEIVER (5)
Matthew Slater ST
PUP: Demaryius Thomas
Suspended: Josh Gordon
Out: Braxton Berrios, Ryan Davis, Maurice Harris, Jakobi Meyers, Damoun Patterson, Xavier Ubosi
It was tough deciding among Ellington, Harris, Berrios and Meyers. We think Meyers could be a nice steal as an undrafted free agent, but we need to see it in OTAs and minicamp first. Ellington is a solid fit for the slot in the Patriots’ offense if he can stay healthy.
The Patriots can get by with this group until Thomas and/or Gordon return.
TIGHT END (3)
Out: Stephen Anderson, Andrew Beck, Jacob Hollister
Izzo is a more balanced tight end as a receiving threat and experienced blocker than Anderson, Beck and Hollister. This is the Patriots’ biggest remaining area of need.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Marcus Cannon
OL Ted Karras
OT Yodny Cajuste
OL Hjalte Froholdt
OT Tyree St. Louis
Out: Calvin Anderson, Cole Croston, Jake Eldrenkamp, James Ferentz, Tyler Gauthier, Cedrick Lang, Ryker Mathews, Brian Schwenke, Dan Skipper
We know basically nothing about St. Louis, but it’s tough to tell which one of these young offensive tackles out of St. Louis, Croston, Lang, Mathews and Skipper will make the team. We’ll go with the one with the most upside. The Patriots could definitely still use another experienced offensive tackle.
EDGE DEFENDERS (4)
Out: Keionta Davis, Trent Harris, Derek Rivers
Byron Cowart, who’s listed below, also can contribute as a defensive end in the Patriots’ base defense. Linebackers like Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy can serve as edge rushers. Davis and Rivers didn’t show much in their second seasons last year. Harris was on the practice squad in 2018.
INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE (4)
Out: Frank Herron, Ufomba Kamalu, David Parry
Herron, Kamalu and Parry all will compete for a roster spot with Cowart. All three players have potential.
Kyle Van Noy
Brandon King ST
Out: Terez Hall, Calvin Munson, Christian Sam
It’s not crazy to think one of Hall (undrafted free agent), Munson or Sam (2018 sixth-round pick) could wind up making the 53-man roster. For now, though, we’ll keep just five linebackers since Simon and Winovich could wind up playing as stand-up edge defenders.
Out: Keion Crossen, Ken Webster
This is a loaded group, making it difficult to cut Crossen and Webster, although it’s not a foregone conclusion Dawson beats out Crossen.
Terrence Brooks ST
Nate Ebner ST
Out: Malik Gant, A.J. Howard, Obi Melifonwu
Three cornerbacks — McCourty, Jones and Williams — all could play pseudo-safety roles.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
K Stephen Gostkowski
LS Joe Cardona
P Jake Bailey
Out: Ryan Allen
The Patriots wouldn’t have taken Bailey in the fifth round if he didn’t have a legitimate chance to make the roster.