Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection 2.0: What Did First OTAs Reveal?

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The New England Patriots banged out their first week of organized team activities last week and now have just seven more scheduled practices before their summer break.

So, what did we learn about the Patriots’ current 91-man roster during the first OTAs session open to the media? There will be plenty of competition in key spots this spring and summer.

Here’s our second look at how the Patriots could trim down their roster before the season starts in September.

QUARTERBACK (3)
In: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham
Out: Danny Etling

No surprises here. Etling is working on special teams to help his case for a roster spot, but we still can’t see it happening.

RUNNING BACK (5)
In: Brandon Bolden, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White
Out: Nick Brossette

The only real path to carrying four running backs would be to trade Burkhead. Give the running back depth issues New England endured in 2018, we think it’ll keep all five players.

FULLBACK (1)
In: James Develin
Out: Jakob Johnson

Johnson has a long way to go for a roster spot as an international gateway player.

WIDE RECEIVER (5)
In: Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Dontrelle Inman, Matthew Slater
Out: Braxton Berrios, Ryan Davis, Maurice Harris, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Damoun Patterson
PUP: Demaryius Thomas
Suspended: Josh Gordon

Berrios and Harris were tough cuts, but we think the Patriots can keep just five wide receivers with Thomas and Gordon on reserve lists. There’s no guarantee Thomas or Gordon will return in 2019, but we think New England could stash some of its young receivers on the practice squad to serve as depth.

TIGHT END (2)
In: Matt LaCosse, Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Out: Stephen Anderson, Andrew Beck, Ryan Izzo
Suspended: Ben Watson

Watson only is suspended for four games, so the Patriots can get by with two tight ends until he returns, assuming they can stash Anderson, Beck or Izzo on the practice squad. It’s possible Izzo could beat out Seferian-Jenkins for a roster spot.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
In: David Andrews, Yodny Cajuste, Marcus Cannon, Hjalte Froholdt, Ted Karras, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn
Out: Cole Croston, James Ferentz, Tyler Gauthier, Cedrick Lang, Brian Schwenke, Dan Skipper, Tyree St. Louis

In the first organized team activities session open to the media, Thuney was playing left tackle with Cajuste and Wynn still limited by injuries. That tells us the Patriots likely would rather move Thuney, their starting left guard, to tackle than use Croston, Lang, Skipper or St. Louis in an emergency situation. We still think the Patriots probably will sign a veteran offensive tackle to back up Cannon and Wynn.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
In: DE Michael Bennett, DT Adam Butler, DT Byron Cowart, DT Lawrence Guy, DT Mike Pennel, DE Derek Rivers, DE John Simon, DE Chase Winovich, DE Deatrich Wise
Out: DE Shilique Calhoun, DE Keionta Davis, DE Trent Harris, DT Ufomba Kamalu, DT David Parry, DT Danny Shelton, DT Nick Thurman

Rivers was the last player to make our 53-man roster, and he could be the odd-man out when Watson returns.

LINEBACKER (6)
In: Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon King, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy
Out: Terez Hall, Calvin Munson, Christian Sam

We think there’s room for Bentley, Collins, Hightower, Roberts and Van Noy. King essentially is exclusively a special-teams player, though he does practice with linebackers. Hall, Munson and Sam all are solid players who will have to shine to make the roster.

CORNERBACK (6)
In: Keion Crossen, Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams
Out: Duke Dawson, D’Angelo Ross, Ken Webster

The Patriots might need to trade Jones if they want Dawson to make the team. We can’t imagine New England keeping seven cornerbacks to start the season.

SAFETY (5)
In: Terrence Brooks, Patrick Chung, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty
Out: Malik Gant, A.J. Howard, Obu Melifonwu

This is a tough group for Gant and Melifonwu to crack, especially since many of the Patriots cornerbacks have the versatility to play safety.

SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
In: P Jake Bailey, LS Joe Cardona, K Stephen Gostkowski
Out: P Ryan Allen

Bailey was skying punts in OTAs. The Patriots traded up to draft him in the fifth round. Allen has to hope Bailey shows a complete lack of consistency in the spring and summer.

Last in: Rivers

Last out: Shelton

Ideal practice squad: FB Jakob Johnson, WR Braxton Berrios, WR Jakobi Meyers, TE Ryan Izzo, OT Tyree St. Louis, DE Keionta Davis, DT Ufomba Kamalu, LB Terez Hall, CB Duke Dawson, S Malik Gant, S Obi Melifonwu

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