Over the past week, I've tried to predict the 53 players who would make the New England Patriots roster in an "if the season started today" scenario.
Here were the lucky 53. Players in bold are ones whose contracts and/or production render them essentially loster rocks, barring injuries:
QB (3): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
RB (3): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead
FB (1): Spencer Larsen
TE (3): Daniel Fells, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez
WR (6): Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Brandon Lloyd, Matthew Slater, Donté Stallworth, Wes Welker
OL (9): Marcus Cannon, Dan Connolly, Robert Gallery, Logan Mankins, Nick McDonald, Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Brian Waters, Ryan Wendell
DL (6): Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Jonathan Fanene, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Vince Wilfork
LB (9): Markell Carter, Jermaine Cunningham, Dane Fletcher, Jerod Mayo, Rob Ninkovich, Trevor Scott, Brandon Spikes, Jeff Tarpinian, Tracy White
CB (5): Will Allen, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Devin McCourty, Sterling Moore
S (5): Josh Barrett, Sergio Brown, Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Ross Ventrone
ST (3): Danny Aiken, Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko
For various reasons, some of the players above will not make the roster. The most obvious reason is that the Patriots currently have six draft picks in the first four rounds of the draft. Historically, the Patriots have not used all of their early picks, and it's not at all a given they'll do so this year.
On the other hand, in the Belichick era, essentially every player drafted in the first four rounds has made the opening day roster his rookie season (albeit sometimes on injured reserve, as Tyrone McKenzie did in 2009).
So let's look at some players whose roster spots aren't a given this fall.