How Should Patriots Fill Final Roster Spot Before Training Camp Begins?

The New England Patriots were close to filling their current 80-man roster until a reported agreement with tight end Jordan Leggett fell through.

So, now the Patriots are back at 79 players after reportedly adding running back Lamar Miller, defensive tackle Darius Kilgo and center Tyler Gauthier.

Let’s go position by position to see where the Patriots need the most help prior to the official start of training camp on Aug. 17.

Quarterback
Brian Hoyer
Brian Lewerke
Cam Newton
Jarrett Stidham

— If anything, the Patriots have too many players here. They’re all set at quarterback for now with a full-on competition this summer. Lewerke adds a degree of insurance.

Running Back
Rex Burkhead
Damien Harris
Jakob Johnson
Sony Michel (Active/PUP)
Lamar Miller
J. J. Taylor
James White

— The Patriots added Miller on Monday to provide some depth with Michel on the PUP list. Miller is a potentially starting-caliber option to compete for snaps with Burkhead and Harris. The Patriots don’t need any other running back help for now.

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Fullback
Jakob Johnson

— Johnson will see competition from some of the Patriots’ young tight ends. This is a spot where the Patriots could still use some help.

Wide Receiver
Quincy Adeboyejo
Damiere Byrd
Julian Edelman
N’Keal Harry
Will Hastings
Jakobi Meyers
Gunner Olszewski
Devin Ross
Mohamed Sanu
Matthew Slater
Jeff Thomas
Isaiah Zuber

— It’s certainly not the most talented group in the NFL, but there’s plenty of depth and upside on the receiver depth chart. Thomas, an undrafted free agent out of Miami, is a player to watch.

Tight End
Devin Asiasi
Rashod Berry
Jake Burt
Ryan Izzo
Dalton Keene

— It will be interesting to see if the Patriots try to bring on another tight end after a deal with Leggett fell through. They probably should. There’s no obvious starter in this position group if Asiasi or Keene can’t immediately step up as rookies.

Offensive Tackle
Yodny Cajuste
Korey Cunningham
Justin Herron
LT Isaiah Wynn

— The Patriots have never seen Cajuste, a 2019 third-round pick, or Herron practice. Cunningham was acquired via trade late last summer but barely played after the Patriots signed Marshall Newhouse. Unless the Patriots have a lot of confidence in Cajuste, Cunningham or Herron, they should be looking for a starter opposite Wynn after Marcus Cannon opted out.

Maybe the Patriots will see what they have early in camp, and if they have to adjust, they’ll pluck a player out of free agency or add a tackle via trade.

Guard/Center
C David Andrews
G Jermaine Eluemunor
G Hjalte Froholdt
C Tyler Gauthier
RG Shaq Mason
G Michael Onwenu
LG Joe Thuney
C Dustin Woodard

— The Patriots could move Thuney to right tackle, but then who would play left guard? Eluemunor and Froholdt would be the top options. Eluemunor, like Cunningham, barely played after being acquired via trade late last summer. Froholdt, like Cajuste, missed his rookie season with an injury.

Defensive Tackle
Beau Allen
Adam Butler
Byron Cowart
Lawrence Guy
Darius Kilgo
Bill Murray
Nick Thurman

— Like wide receiver, this isn’t the most talented positional group, but there’s definitely enough depth. Players like Cowart and Murray have higher ceilings, as well.

Edge Defender
Tashawn Bower
Shilique Calhoun
Nick Coe
Anfernee Jennings
Derek Rivers
John Simon
Chase Winovich
Deatrich Wise Jr.

— The Patriots can get by with this group of defensive ends and outside linebackers, especially when more traditional linebackers like Brandon Copeland and Josh Uche can also play on the edge.

Linebacker
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Brandon Copeland
Terez Hall
De’Jon Harris
Brandon King (Active/PUP)
Cassh Maluia
Josh Uche

— It’s a significantly weakened group with Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts all gone. Bentley has to step up. Copeland could start if Uche, a 2020 second-round pick, isn’t ready.

Cornerback
Justin Bethel
Myles Bryant
Stephon Gilmore
J. C. Jackson
Mike Jackson Sr.
Jonathan Jones
Jason McCourty
D’Angelo Ross
Joejuan Williams

— The Patriots are more than stocked up at cornerback after acquiring Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Safety
Terrence Brooks
Cody Davis
Kyle Dugger
Devin McCourty
Adrian Phillips

— The Patriots could always use Jackson, Jones, Jason McCourty or Williams at safety if they get shallow here for any reason.

Special Teams
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
K Justin Rohrwasser

— It appears the Patriots will see what they have in Rohrwasser before bringing in competition.

Area Of Biggest Need: Right tackle and tight end

— These are really the only positions where the Patriots lack obvious starting-caliber talent. It’s entirely possible Cajuste or Asiasi and Keene, both 2020 third-round picks, will step in right away. But it’s no guarantee, and there aren’t many reliable options behind them.

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