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.
— 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.
Sony Michel (Active/PUP)
J. J. Taylor
— 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.
— Johnson will see competition from some of the Patriots’ young tight ends. This is a spot where the Patriots could still use some help.
— 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.
— 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.
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.
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.
— 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.
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.
Brandon King (Active/PUP)
— 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.
J. C. Jackson
Mike Jackson Sr.
— The Patriots are more than stocked up at cornerback after acquiring Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.
— The Patriots could always use Jackson, Jones, Jason McCourty or Williams at safety if they get shallow here for any reason.
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.