Resetting Patriots’ Depth Chart After Quiet NFL Trade Deadline

Where things stand after a quiet deadline

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The New England Patriots made exactly zero moves ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, choosing to push forward with their current roster.

But as the Patriots near the midway point of this extended 17-game season, it’s worth taking an updated look at their depth chart to see which players have emerged, which have surprised and what changes could be coming over the final 10 weeks.

QUARTERBACK
Mac Jones
Brian Hoyer
Garrett Gilbert (practice squad)

The big question with this group is how Jarrett Stidham would slot back in if he’s activated off the physically unable to perform list. The Patriots have until next Wednesday to make that decision, as that’s when Stidham’s designated-to-return timeline expires.

RUNNING BACK
Damien Harris
Brandon Bolden
Rhamondre Stevenson
J.J. Taylor

Bolden has been the new James White since New England’s top pass-catching back went down in Week 3. Stevenson and Taylor have rotated in and out of the gameday roster, with each playing in four of the Patriots’ eight games (and never at the same time).

FULLBACK
Jakob Johnson
Ben Mason (practice squad)

It was speculated that New England’s shift toward a two-tight end offense might result in a fullback phase-out, but that hasn’t been the case. Johnson continues to have a prominent role for the Patriots, playing at least 25% of offensive snaps in each of the last five games. Only the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens have used more 21 personnel (two backs, one tight end) this season.

TIGHT END
Hunter Henry
Jonnu Smith

Devin Asiasi
Matt LaCosse (practice squad)

Henry has played nearly 100 more offensive snaps than Smith this season, but they’ve seen almost identical workloads in recent weeks when both are healthy. Smith has seen more work as a run blocker, while the majority of Henry’s snaps have come in the passing game. The Patriots rank a surprising 18th in 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) usage, per Sharp Football Stats. Asiasi has been a healthy scratch for all eight games.

WIDE RECEIVER
Jakobi Meyers
Nelson Agholor

Kendrick Bourne
N’Keal Harry
Gunner Olszewski
Matthew Slater
Kristian Wilkerson (practice squad)
Tre Nixon (practice squad)

There was a clear 1-2-3-4 hierarchy here for the first seven weeks, but Harry outsnapped Bourne in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers, with the latter sent to the bench after losing a fumble. We’ll see whether there’s any shakeup to this order in Week 9.

OFFENSIVE LINE
LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Ted Karras

C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Mike Onwenu

OT Justin Herron
G/C James Ferentz
OT Yodny Cajuste
T/G Yasir Durant
G Alex Redmond (practice squad)
T/G Will Sherman (practice squad)
C Drake Jackson (practice squad)

After begrudgingly shifting Onwenu from left guard to right tackle, the Patriots finally have settled on a solid starting five. But what will this group look like if and when Trent Brown — their Week 1 starter at Onwenu’s current spot — is healthy enough to return? He’s been eligible to return from injured reserve since last week but has yet to begin practicing.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Lawrence Guy
Deatrich Wise
Davon Godchaux

Christian Barmore
Carl Davis
Daniel Ekuale (practice squad)
Bill Murray (practice squad)

Barmore has just one start on the season, but the impressive rookie has led all Patriots D-linemen in snaps played in each of the last two games. His role should continue to grow. Byron Cowart is back practicing and could rejoin this unit from the PUP list.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
Matthew Judon
Kyle Van Noy
Josh Uche
Ronnie Perkins
Tashawn Bower (practice squad)

The wildly disruptive Judon rarely leaves the field, playing 85% of defensive snaps through eight games. The versatile Van Noy has played 69% but has made just two starts, both while other linebackers (Ja’Whaun Bentley and Dont’a Hightower) were out with injuries. This hasn’t been the breakout year many expected from Uche, who’s played just 32% of snaps as a situational pass rusher. Chase Winovich will be eligible to return from IR next week.

INSIDE LINEBACKER
Dont’a Hightower
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Jamie Collins
Jahlani Tavai
Calvin Munson
Brandon King

Hightower and Bentley have started every game in which they’ve played this season. Van Noy has played more off the ball than on the edge, so you can include him in here, too. We’ve yet to see much of Collins, who’s played nearly as much on special teams (35 snaps) as he has on defense (43) since his latest New England return.

CORNERBACK
J.C. Jackson
Jalen Mills
Myles Bryant
Joejuan Williams
Justin Bethel
Shaun Wade
Brian Poole (practice squad)
De’Vante Bausby (practice squad)
D’Angelo Ross (practice squad)

If any position group could have used a deadline addition, it was this one, which remains thin with no Stephon Gilmore (traded to Carolina last month) and Jonathan Jones (season-ending injured reserve). Bryant has stepped in for Jones the top slot option and played well since being bumped up from the practice squad. We’re still waiting to see Wade, who returned to practice last week following a prolonged concussion-related absence but has yet to dress for a game this season. Poole and Bausby are veterans who could be elevated to the gameday roster if need be.

SAFETY
Devin McCourty
Kyle Dugger
Adrian Phillips
Cody Davis
Sean Davis (practice squad)

The Patriots regularly play all three of their top safeties together. McCourty, Dugger and Phillips all have snap rates above 81%. Bryant is the No. 4 option here, as Davis only plays in the kicking game.

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