Roster projection…already?

Yup!  The New England Patriots drafted 9 dudes last weekend.  Signed another 9 free agents.  I can’t really speak with any kind of knowledge as to if any of these 18 can actually play the game.  Or provide any kind of draft analysis whatsoever.  Don’t call me Mel Kiper or Todd McShay…actually they don’t really know either, with all due respect to the work they put in of course.  We could debate the merits of taking a QB and a WR relatively early in the draft, based on the Pats’ poor track record with drafting those positions.  Or we can talk about them taking a guy in the 3rd round (Vincent Valentine) that many teams/experts did not have on their draft boards.  But we really won’t know with any of those guys until the pads are on…at the very least.  So doesn’t it seem like the perfect time to project the roster?!

There are currently 92 players on the roster.  But there is actually only supposed to be 90 guys max, so we will pretend that everyone is officially signed.  Long way to go until the regular season opener for the final 53 spots of course.  Injuries will likely occur.  Trades may happen.  The long snapper may have a Navy commitment that prevents him from playing.  The bottom 10 spots or so on the 90 man roster will likely be interchanged several times over the spring and summer.  Guys will start the year on the PUP list.  We may even have a holdout, if you believe some “experts”.  And yes, Deflategate still hangs over us, with some kind of suspension probable.  Blah, blah, blah.

But this is how I see it shake out this very second.  Offense first, Defense later.  Enjoy!

Offense:

QB (3):

Locks:  Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett

In:  None

Out:  None

Way Out:  None

Comments:  A little surprised at the drafting of Brissett in the third round?  I was at first, but it makes sense.  If Brady does serve time, they will need a 3rd guy to back up Jimmy Football.  Even if he doesn’t, Jimmy G may hold some trade value next offseason with but one year left on his contract.  Now that Brady had two years tacked onto his contract and is around for theoretically four more seasons, Garoppolo likely is not the “heir apparent” anymore.  Gotta start grooming someone else, I suppose.  Either way, this means they have to carry three QB’s this year.  Unless they trade Jimmy before THIS season.  Seems a little unlikely they would do that.

RB (5):

Locks:  Brandon Bolden, Dion Lewis

In:  James White, James Develin, LeGarrette Blount,

Out:  Donald Brown, Tyler Gaffney, Joey Iosefa, D.J. Foster

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Truth be told, this was pretty much the hardest position to project.  Any number of ways the team could go here.  The staff loves Bolden because of his special teams value.  And Lewis is a lock of course, if healthy.  But he could start the year on the PUP list.  As could Blount.  The fact that Gaffney is back again may indicate he may get a real shot.  Foster is an intriguing prospect because he is also listed as a WR.  Belichick loves Develin, so he makes it…but maybe he could start on PUP too?  No idea how all these guys are progressing with all their injuries.  White should seemingly be a lock…but…I just have a feeling.  Iosefa may look at that one game last year as his career highlight.  And whither Brown?  It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

WR (5):

Locks:  Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell

In:  Danny Amendola, Keshawn Martin

Out:  Chris Harper, Aaron Dobson, Nate Washington, Devin Lucien

Way Out:  DeAndre Carter

Comments:  Can’t see the Pats keeping more than 5 receivers, though they could.  Don’t need to talk about Edelman.  I question whether Hogan was worth that money, but as Bill would say, it is what it is.  Mitchell was a 4th rounder which makes him not necessarily a lock in theory, but I feel like he is here.  We’ve all heard about Amendola’s high cap number.  But you don’t hear that from the Pats themselves…though I guess you never would.  I get the feeling if they wanted to restructure, it would have been done already.  And if Amendola balked, he would already be gone.  Or maybe it’s a “June 1” cap thing.  My feeling right now is that he is here, this year anyway.  Martin showed well late last year, they signed him to an extension late in the year as well and he provides depth in the return game.  Sounds like that’s a guy for the last spot.  Harper may have actually sealed his fate by dropping that punt against Denver last year.  But he could wind up on the practice squad, along with Lucien perhaps.  Hopefully, this is the year they say good-bye to Dobson.  I’m all set with Washington.  I’m not sure I would even keep him over Dobson.  Ok, yeah, I would.  I may keep Carter over Dobson.  Done with Aaron.

TE (3):

Locks:  Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett

In:  Clay Harbor

Out:  Michael Williams, A.J. Derby

Way Out:  De’Runnya Wilson, Steven Scheu

Comments:  Hope Bennett brings more to the table than Scott Chandler did last year.  Remember how excited we all were for Chandler coming aboard?  I don’t know what the hell happened.  The same likely won’t happen with Bennett.  But let’s hope Gronk doesn’t hold out and make Martellus the top dog.  Are we really worried about Gronk holding out?  I’m not ruling it out.  It may depend on what his family thinks.  Gronk has largely said and done the right things under the whole “Patriot Way” theme.  But, specifically for injuries, his tune has changed a bit sometimes.  Helped along with input from his family.  We shall see.

Anyway, as far as on the field goes, I would have to say they signed Harbor for a couple of reasons.  One, if Gronk is out for any reason, they didn’t want to be stuck with Michael Williams as their second tight end.  Two, they didn’t want Williams as their third tight end.  And…I suppose Clay can actually play a little bit.  That being said, don’t be surprised if Williams does make the team.  Especially if they investigate him back at tackle again.  Derby may stick on the practice squad.  The last two guys sound like camp bodies to me.  Nice name for D’Runnya though.

OL (10):

Locks:  Nate Solder (LT), Sebastian Vollmer (RT), Bryan Stork (C), Shaq Mason (G), LaAdrian Waddle (T), Joe Thuney (G)

In:  Marcus Cannon (T), Tre’ Jackson (G), David Andrews (C), Jonathan Cooper (G)

Out:  Chris Barker (G), Cameron Fleming (T), Josh Kline (G/C), Ted Karras (G)

Way Out:  Keavon Milton (G)

Comments:  Here’s another area that is kind of muddled.  This unit was putrid down the stretch last year.  Injuries and guys playing out of position contributed to that for sure.  Guys that shouldn’t have been playing at all contributed as well.  Maybe coaching too, maybe not.  But now Dante Scarnecchia is back and expectations are that he will help settle things down.  Though that may be wishful thinking since 3rd rounder Thuney may be the only new body added to the actual mix.  A return to health of all will certainly help.  But many things need to happen to get this unit back to being strong.

As for the players themselves, the tackles and center should be back in place.  But I wouldn’t be shocked if they shopped Vollmer.  He is entering the last year of his contract and he gets dinged up a lot.  But that would leave Waddle, Cannon and Fleming…not optimal.  Cannon has always stunk, but Dante and Bill have always spoken highly of him, so even though his contract is way too big, he likely stays.

Guard is where it will really bear watching.  The three dudes that manned the spot for the most part last year (Mason, Jackson and Kline) should be on notice.  Getting Cooper in the Chandler Jones deal and drafting Thuney high can’t have them feeling too confident.  I honestly think that the former first round pick Cooper gets a legit chance to win a job.  Maybe Thuney too.  I think they like Mason more than Jackson.  And Kline is useful, but may just be depth.  Karras seems like a practice squad candidate as a late round pick and I don’t even know who Milton is, so that is enough for me to discount him.  The Pats could also keep Kline as the backup center (if Thuney isn’t a consideration there already) and drop Andrews as another route.  Andrews started out strong, then faded.  And since he only plays center (as far as I can tell), this may make his roster spot tenuous.

I can’t believe I just wrote that much about the offensive guard position like it was riveting.  Or about the offensive line in general.  But it was a sore spot at the end of the year and they felt the need to bring Dante back.  So it will actually be worth watching.

Next:  Defense and specialists

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About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on May 6, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nice analysis, Mike, Do you feel silly typing names like “De’Runnya.” JIM

    On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 1:10 AM, The Billerica Blowhard wrote:

    > mpdenton posted: “Yup! The New England Patriots drafted 9 dudes last > weekend. Signed another 9 free agents. I can’t really speak with any kind > of knowledge as to if any of these 18 can actually play the game. Or > provide any kind of draft analysis whatsoever. Don’t cal” >

    • Thanks Jim. Not silly, but I can tell you it irks me to have to keep going back on a lot of these guys to make sure I am spelling all their names correctly…and to check for proper placement of apostrophes!!

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