Though the New England Patriots currently are only taking part in virtual meetings during the voluntary offseason workout program, at some point they will reconvene for some actual roster competition.

We’ve divided the Patriots’ roster into four different categories: locks, near-locks, competition and longshots.

We’d be shocked if any of the roster locks are cut in September. We’d be less surprised if the near-locks are cut or traded. Players under the competition banner are on the roster bubble battling for a spot on the 53-man roster. We’d be surprised if anyone in the longshots category made the team.

LOCKS (32)
QB Brian Hoyer
QB Jarrett Stidham
RB Sony Michel
RB James White
WR Julian Edelman
WR N’Keal Harry
TE Devin Asiasi
TE Dalton Keene
LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
DL Adam Butler
DL Lawrence Guy
EDGE John Simon
EDGE Chase Winovich
EDGE Anfernee Jennings
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
LB Dont’a Hightower
LB Josh Uche
CB Stephon Gilmore
CB JC Jackson
CB Jonathan Jones
CB Jason McCourty
FS Devin McCourty
SS Patrick Chung
SS Kyle Dugger
ST/WR Matthew Slater
ST/LB Brandon King
K Justin Rohrwasser
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona

Some notes:

— Based on how the roster currently is constructed, we can’t see Hoyer being cut.

— All players drafted through the fifth round are roster locks, but no sixth- or seventh-round picks make this list.

— Only two running backs and actual wide receivers are locks, in our minds.

— Simon was one of our toughest inclusions. Is there a situation where basically all of the linebackers and edge players on the roster competition list beat out Simon in training camp and the preseason? Maybe a very, very slim one. We’ll say he’s a lock.

— There’s the most certainty on the roster in the secondary with seven overall locks. That’s the strength of the Patriots’ roster, so it makes sense.

— There are no other kickers on the roster. Until that changes, Rohrwasser is a lock.

NEAR-LOCKS (11)
RB Brandon Bolden
RB Rex Burkhead
RB Damien Harris
WR Jakobi Meyers
WR Mohamed Sanu
TE Matt LaCosse
RT Marcus Cannon
DT Beau Allen
CB Justin Bethel
CB Joejuan Williams
SS Adrian Phillips

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Some notes:

— Let’s just get this out of the way: We think all 10 of these players will make the Patriots’ 53-man roster.

— If the Patriots want to open up cap space, they could cut Bolden, Burkhead, Sanu, LaCosse, Cannon or Bethel.

— Listen, we thought Mike Pennel was a roster lock at this time last year. That’s why Allen and Phillips are on this list.

— The only way Williams gets cut is if he pulls a Duke Dawson and doesn’t improve in Year 2. He also has an offseason arrest under his belt.

— Harris barely played last season. Is there a situation in which the Patriots value a young pass-catcher like J.J. Taylor over him? Unlikely, but it’s at least conceivable.

— Meyers was the toughest to leave off of the roster lock category, but he was an undrafted free agent last season and only gained 359 receiving yards as a rookie. Could he get beat out by a Damiere Byrd, Marqise Lee and/or one of the Patriots’ talented undrafted receivers? Absolutely.

ROSTER COMPETITION (34)
QB J’Mar Smith
RB J.J. Taylor
FB Jakob Johnson
FB Danny Vitale
WR Damiere Byrd
WR Will Hastings
WR Marqise Lee
WR Gunner Olszewski
WR Jeff Thomas
WR Isaiah Zuber
TE Ryan Izzo
OT Yodny Cajuste
OT Korey Cunningham
OL Jermaine Eluemunor
OL Hjalte Froholdt
OL Justin Herron
OL Michael Onwenu
OL Dustin Woodard
DL Nick Coe
DL Byron Cowart
DL Bill Murray
DL Nick Thurman
DL Deatrich Wise
EDGE Shilique Calhoun
EDGE Derek Rivers
LB Brandon Copeland
LB Terez Hall
LB De’Jon Harris
LB Cassh Maluia
LB Kyahva Tezino
CB Myles Bryant
CB D’Angelo Ross
S Terrence Brooks
S Cody Davis

Some notes:

— This is our longest list, and we were pretty liberal with filling it out. The players on this list who are most likely to make the roster are Vitale, Cajuste, Froholdt, Cowart, Wise, Copeland and one of Brooks or Davis.

— Smith is on this list because we feel like he has a better shot at making the roster than the other undrafted quarterback, Brian Lewerke.

— It’s maybe not a great sign for the Patriots that every backup offensive lineman is either in the roster competition or longshot category. There’s not a lot of certainty behind the starters.

— There’s a wide range of players here. Vitale will probably be the Patriots’ starting fullback, but he’s competing with Johnson and some of the tight ends. On the other end of the spectrum, guys like Thurman, Bryant and Ross teetered between roster competition and longshots.

LONGSHOTS (12)
QB Brian Lewerke
WR Quincy Adeboyejo
WR Sean Riley
WR Devin Ross
TE/OLB Rashod Berry
TE Jake Burt
OL Najee Toran
DL Courtney Wallace
EDGE Tashawn Bower
CB Lenzy Pipkins
S Malik Gant
S Adarius Pickett

— We’d be very surprised if any of these players made the 53-man roster, but crazier things have happened in the past. Malcolm Butler and Gunner Olszewski made the cut as rookies, so anything is possible.

— Burt was our toughest inclusion. We just can’t necessarily see him beating out Vitale, Johnson, LaCosse and Izzo for a spot.

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