New England Patriots: Early Look at How the 53-Man Roster Could Shape Up

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New England Patriots: Early Look at How the 53-Man Roster Could Shape Up
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images
Ochocinco Could Be an Odd Man Out

Every year, it's a shot in the dark to predict how Bill Belichick’s roster will shape up for the season. Here is a very early look at what the 53-man roster could look like in September when the New England Patriots take the field against the Tennessee Titans.

 

Quarterback: (3)

Tom Brady

Brian Hoyer

Ryan Mallett

Cut: Mike Hartline

Rationale: Brady, Hoyer and Mallett are all obvious locks unless either back up is traded, but even that seems extremely unlikely. Barring injury, Hartline’s best chance would be the practice squad.

 

Running Back: (5)

Stevan Ridley

Shane Vereen

Danny Woodhead

Spencer Larsen

Joseph Addai

Cut: Tony Fiammetta, Eric Kettani and Brandon Bolden

Rationale: The Patriots keep a veteran in Addai after not selecting a back in the draft. He will add some depth behind Stevan Ridley, the projected starter. Update 8:18 PM Patriots are likely to sign Joseph Addai according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, so he would become the veteran back, rather than Tim Hightower like originally predicted.

 

Wide Receiver: (6)

Brandon Lloyd

Wes Welker (unsigned franchise player)

Jabar Gaffney

Deion Branch

Julian Edelman

Matt Slater

Cut: Donté Stallworth, Anthony Gonzalez, Britt Davis, Jeremy Ebert and Matt Roark

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Lloyd Should Be a New Favorite for Brady

Traded: Chad Ochocinco

Rationale: The Patriots trade Ochocinco for a conditional seventh-round pick during training camp once it becomes obvious he will be cut. Stallworth and Gonzalez do not have spots on the roster with the presence of the other veterans. Either Ebert or Roark will likely be a practice squad candidate.

 

Tight End: (3)

Rob Gronkowski

Aaron Hernandez

Daniel Fells

Cut: Brad Herman

Rationale: Fells seems to be a lock for the roster and there is just no more room to keep Herman on the roster.

 

Offensive Line: (9)

Nate Solder

Logan Mankins

Dan Koppen

Brain Waters

Sebastian Vollmer

Dan Connolly

Robert Gallery

Marcus Cannon

Matt Kopa

Cut: Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald, Donald Thomas, Kyle Hix, Jeremiah Warren and Markus Zusevics

Rationale: Wendell will the toughest cut, but with Gallery’s presence he becomes expendable. Kopa sticks on the roster as the fourth tackle.

 

Defensive Line: (9)

Vince Wilfork

Kyle Love

Jonathan Fanene

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Carter Should Return

Chandler Jones

Andre Carter (projected free-agent signing)

Jake Bequette

Brandon Deaderick

Myron Pryor

Justin Francis

Cut: Ron Brace, Jermaine Cunningham, Gerard Warren, Trevor Scott, Markell Carter, Marcus Harrison, Marcus Forston, Alex Silvestro and Aaron Lavarias

Rationale: All things seem to point at Andre Carter’s return once his rehabilitation is complete later this year. Ron Brace and Jermaine Cunningham both have their time run out after being second-round picks in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Gerard Warren could likely return at a later time if there is an injury. Markell Carter, Lavarias and Silvestro are all candidates to return to the practice squad. Justin Francis continues the streak of undrafted free agents making the roster in New England.

 

Linebacker: (7)

Jerod Mayo

Dont’a Hightower

Brandon Spikes

Rob Ninkovich

Dane Fletcher

Tracy White

Jeff Tarpinian

Cut: Bobby Carpenter, Niko Koutouvides and Mike Rivera

Rationale: Bobby Carpenter fails to carve out a role in New England and becomes expendable. Koutouvides is cut despite playing a key role on special teams.

 

Defensive Backs: (8)

Devin McCourty

Ras-I Dowling

Sterling Moore

Alfonzo Dennard

Patrick Chung

Leon Halip/Getty Images
Arrington Could Fetch the Pats a Decent Draft Pick

Tavon Wilson

Steve Gregory

Nate Ebner

Cut: Will Allen, Josh Barrett, Sergio Brown, Marquice Cole, Ross Ventrone and Malcolm Williams

Traded: Kyle Arrington

Rationale: Kyle Arrington is shipped away for a mid-round pick despite being the most consistent player at the position over the past two seasons. The influx of young cornerbacks like Dennard, Moore and Dowling makes him expendable.

Ebner makes the team as a pure special teamer. Veteran corner Will Allen is released in what could be the final stop in his solid career.

 

Specialists: (3)

Stephen Gostkowski

Zoltan Mesko

Danny Aiken

Cut: Chris Koepplin

Rationale: There is no reason to upgrade at kicker, punter or long-snapper, so all three should be safe. Koepplin is released for the second time in two years as the Patriots only carry one kicker. 

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