The New England Patriots’ depth chart is starting to take shape as Bill Belichick gets his team prepared for the Carolina Panthers on a short week.
Patriots starters will likely see significant time Thursday in the “dress rehearsal” preseason game. We’ll have an even better sense of the Patriots’ depth chart by the end of the week.
But here’s what we’ve gathered about the Patriots’ starters and backups with two weeks left to go before regular-season preparation begins.
— Hoyer still has the edge over Stidham for the backup job for now, but there are still two weeks for the standout rookie to push the veteran.
Sony Michel-James White
— Harris could leapfrog Burkhead on the depth chart by the time the summer is over. He was very impressive in his preseason debut Saturday, and Burkhead struggled to find consistency last season as he dealt with injuries.
— What other NFL team goes three deep at fullback? Beck is the most athletic option in his group. Johnson will likely be on the Patriots’ practice squad this season.
Julian Edelman-Philip Dorsett-Jakobi Meyers
PUP: Demaryius Thomas, Cameron Meredith
NFI: Josh Gordon
— Assuming Gordon comes off NFI before Week 1, he would supplant Dorsett as a starter. We might be on an island here, but we’d prefer Meyers as a starter over Dorsett and Harry, both of whom are injured, right now.
Ben Watson (suspended)
— Izzo has impressed since LaCosse suffered an injury in the Patriots’ first preseason game, especially as a blocker. And he’s athletic enough to catch some passes. We still think Watson will be the top option when he returns from suspension.
LT Isaiah Wynn-LG Joe Thuney-C David Andrews-RG Shaq Mason-RT Marcus Cannon
Tyrie St. Louis
— Skipper is clearly the Patriots’ best option at swing tackle right now, but we have a feeling the Patriots could slip him onto the practice squad in order to keep just seven offensive linemen. That would make Thuney the emergency backup offensive tackle if an injury occurred during a game.
Lawrence Guy-Michael Bennett
Deatrich Wise Jr.
— Pennel has been a slight disappointment since coming to the Patriots as a free agent. He’s clearly behind Shelton as the Patriots’ top nose tackle based on practice and preseason reps. This group is really deep. All of these players are talented and could catch on elsewhere.
Kyle Van Noy-Dont’a Hightower-Ja’Whaun Bentley-Jamie Collins
— This is another really deep group. We’re slotting in Bentley as the Patriots’ 11th “starter” on defense. That spot also could go to Shelton, Simon, Winovich or Calhoun depending on how the Patriots want to situate their defensive front in a given game. Expect Winovich to climb the depth chart by the end of the summer. The Patriots have worked him in on the third team so far.
Stephon Gilmore-Jason McCourty-Jonathan Jones
— McCourty is ahead of Jackson based on practice and preseason snaps. We still think Jackson could supplant McCourty or Jones for a starting role early in the season.
Devin McCourty-Patrick Chung
— Brooks and Harmon are neck-and-neck for that No. 3 role.
K Stephen Gostkowski-P Jake Bailey-LS Joe Cardona
— The Patriots released punter Ryan Allen on Monday, giving Bailey the top punting job.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images