As the 2014 offseason concludes, Bill Belichick and the rest of the New England Patriots coaching staff will have a tough time deciding if and how their new crop of draft picks and other acquisitions fit on the final 53-man roster.
As rookie contracts—and their miniscule impact on the salary cap—become more and more conducive to success in the NFL, higher-priced veterans who would have been safe 10 years ago might have to sweat it out. Where rookies had to prove their worth in the past, the burden of proof now lies on the veteran.
Here is my final pre-training camp projection of what the final 53-man roster will look like as the Patriots get ready for the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season. Rookies are listed in italics.