How Does Patriots’ Depth Chart Stack Up Week Before NFL Trade Deadline?

Where are the Patriots' biggest areas of weakness?

The 2-4 New England Patriots have some pretty glaring holes on their roster, and they’re running out of time to fill them with the season passing by and the NFL trade deadline just one week away.

Let’s take a closer look at the Patriots’ depth chart before the Nov. 3 trade deadline, when New England must decide if it will be buyers, sellers or neither.

Note: * Indicates practice squad player

QUARTERBACK
Cam Newton
Jarrett Stidham
Brian Hoyer
*Jake Dolegala

— This is a pretty glaring area of weakness for the Patriots, but it’s doubtful that they’ll address it at the NFL trade deadline unless they try to acquire a player like Sam Darnold, Dwayne Haskins or Kyle Allen.

The Patriots just have to hope they can get better play out of the current passers they have on their roster. They do still need to figure out their quarterback of the future, however, if it’s not going to be Newton or Stidham.

RUNNING BACK
Damien Harris
James White
Rex Burkhead
J.J. Taylor
Reserve lists: Sony Michel

— This is still a position of strength for the Patriots. Taylor has been impressive as a rookie, but he’s been a healthy scratch for the last two weeks. Things get really complicated when/if Michel returns.

FULLBACK
Jakob Johnson
Dalton Keene

— It was interesting that the Patriots brought in veteran fullback Roosevelt Nix for a workout late last week. Perhaps the Patriots were just updating their emergency lists. Johnson has played solid so far through six games.

WIDE RECEIVER
Damiere Byrd
N’Keal Harry
Julian Edelman
Jakobi Meyers
Gunner Olszewski
Matthew Slater
*Isaiah Zuber
*Kristian Wilkerson
*Mason Kinsey

— Harry, who has a history of concussions, suffered a head injury in Week 7 and was replaced by Meyers. The Patriots could still afford to add a No. 1 receiver to this group just to top it all off. Bengals 2017 first-round pick John Ross has been rumored to want out of Cincinnati in a trade. He might not provide much of a boost to a group that already seems to have players of his caliber.

The biggest question is if other teams are willing to sell off their top wideouts. We think it would be worth calling up the Minnesota Vikings to see if they’d trade Adam Thielen. Inquiring about Houston Texans speedy wideout Will Fuller also might be worthy of a phone call. Detroit Lions wideout Marvin Jones and Dallas Cowboys receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup also are playing on teams without much of a chance.

TIGHT END
Ryan Izzo
Dalton Keene
Devin Asiasi
*Jake Burt

— Asiasi played five games without being targeted. Keene made his NFL debut Sunday, caught one 8-yard pass and actually played more snaps than Izzo. That’s something to monitor moving forward. The Patriots need help at tight end, and if it can come from within the roster with one of the rookies — Keene or Asiasi — that would be better than giving up draft capital to acquire another player via trade.

OFFENSIVE LINE
LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Mike Onwenu
OT Justin Herron
G/C Hjalte Froholdt
OT Korey Cunningham
*G Caleb Benenoch
*Jordan Roos
Reserve lists: Yodny Cajuste, Jermaine Eluemunor, James Ferentz

— Thuney and Herron both went down with injuries Sunday in the Patriots’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Patriots would probably have to start Froholdt at left guard if both players miss any time.

The Patriots’ offensive line has held up pretty well despite all of the injuries the unit has suffered. Onwenu and Herron were valuable additions in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Lawrence Guy
Byron Cowart
Deatrich Wise
Adam Butler
Carl Davis
*Nick Thurman
*Bill Murray
Reserve lists: Beau Allen

— Like the offensive line, the Patriots’ defensive line has also been banged up all season. Allen would provide some stability and size up front. He returned to practice last week. Could we see him make his Patriots debut against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday? If so, then New England might not need to trade for a defensive lineman.

LINEBACKER
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Anfernee Jennings
Brandon Copeland
Cassh Maluia
*Terez Hall
*Michael Pinckney
Reserve lists: Brandon King, Josh Uche

— Copeland reportedly suffered a season-ending injury, though Bill and Steve Belichick said Tuesday they were waiting for definitive news on the veteran linebacker.

This group is really shallow if Copeland is, indeed, out for the season. Getting Uche, who returned to practice last week, back off of IR would help, but he was a healthy scratch before being placed on the reserve list. King is a special teamer eligble to come off of the PUP list.

The Patriots haven’t hesitated to acquire linebacker help via trade in the past, snagging Akeem Ayers, Jonathan Casillas and Kyle Van Noy before the deadline. Bentley and Jennings struggled against the 49ers, and Uche has yet to make his NFL debut. This group is shallow and could use more bodies.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
John Simon
Shilique Calhoun
Chase Winovich
Derek Rivers
*Tashawn Bower
*Rashod Berry

— Calhoun recently has taken on more snaps than Winovich, though that could be related to the run-heavy offenses the Patriots have faced over the last two weeks. That trend could continue against the Buffalo Bills this weekend, however.

Uche also could help in the pass-rush department, and there’s certainly room for improvement in the outside linebacker room if the right player is available via trade.

CORNERBACK
Stephon Gilmore
JC Jackson
Jonathan Jones
Jason McCourty
Justin Bethel
*D’Angelo Ross
*Mike Jackson Sr.

— The only question here is if the Patriots actually have enough depth to deal away Gilmore. The Patriots will need to adjust his contract next offseason. So, would it be worth considering trading him to a cornerback-needy team in contention like the Seattle Seahawks or Green Bay Packers if the price is right?

Jackson, Jones and McCourty all are starting-worthy options. Ross and Jackson also looked solid in training camp.

SAFETY
Devin McCourty
Adrian Phillips
Kyle Dugger
Terrence Brooks
Joejuan Williams
Reserve lists: Cody Davis

— The Patriots have played Jones and Jason McCourty at safety this season, as well. Williams could move back to cornerback in a pinch. This is a versatile group of defensive backs who could reshuffle if needed.

SPECIAL TEAMS
K Nick Folk
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
*Justin Rohrwasser

— Folk has settled down and hasn’t missed a kick since Week 3.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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