Moving right on to the defense…
Locks: Trey Flowers, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise
In: Adrian Clayborn
Out: Keionta Davis, Eric Lee
Way Out: Frank Herron
Comments: I’m putting Flowers in the Shaq Mason category. Trey is in the last year of his deal and may command big money next year. Money I don’t think the Pats will pay. Now, he may not command “Chandler Jones money”. He hasn’t had the start to his career that Chandler had. But he may still be too expensive for Bill’s taste. I think if a trade made sense, Bill may do it. I probably wouldn’t, as you can see the depth is a little thin at this position. But I’m not ruling out the possibility.
Hopefully Wise can build on a decent rookie year and that Rivers can show something after missing last year due to injury. Clayborn is probably a lock due to the contract…a surprising one at that…with like 2/3 of his sacks coming in a single game last year. But again, every year there is a long-time veteran that just doesn’t fit in the Patriots’ system. For some reason, I think it may be him. Just a hunch. It’s probably wrong though.
Lee flashed after being claimed on waivers last year…in the regular season anyway. So he probably has a chance. Davis always seems to be around when I write these projections, but not sure he is any type of answer. I’ve never heard of Herron, so he will need to make some noise in camp for me to take him seriously.
Locks: Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton
In: Adam Butler, Vincent Valentine
Way Out: John Atkins, Trent Harris
Comments: One more guy I put in the “possible trade” category is Brown. His contract is up after this season. And he may require an investment. The acquisition of Shelton could grease the skids for that…though Shelton’s contract is up after the year too. Seeing that they just made the trade to get Shelton, a trade of him seems unlikely. But maybe with the other guys around, Brown can be shopped. Again, I do not think this will happen, but I am not overlooking the possibility. Guy has his fat contract and played well enough last year I guess, so he’s in.
We had Butler as “way out” in the initial projection last year. Smart. But of course, he was someone we never heard of and he needed to catch the eye to improve his standing. And he certainly did it appears. I think with a year of development, he sticks again. Valentine missed all of last year. But if he is healthy, he stays. Because he is also young and cheap. And Bill likes his fat guys.
This years’ “never heard of dudes” in this category are Atkins and Harris. So we will follow their camp progress…or lack thereof.
Locks: Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy
In: Marquis Flowers, Elandon Roberts, Ja’Whaun Bentley
Out: Harvey Langhi, Christian Sam
Way Out: None
Comments: Once again, an absolutely putrid group here, especially if Dont’a can’t stay on the field…which is bound to happen. A stud when healthy, unfortunately, that almost is never the case. They love Van Noy and gave him a ton of dough…still trying to figure that one out. Flowers and Roberts stink, simple as that. But who else is there? And the team likes these guys too. Bentley makes my team because some of the draft picks have to make it, don’t they?? (My team has the three first and second rounders and fifth rounder Bentley making it and the five sixth and seventh rounders on the outside looking in). Sam, as a sixth rounder, may sneak on, who knows? And Langhi showed some promise last year as an undrafted free agent, made the team, played sparingly, then had that horrific car accident. Who knows how well he has recovered? If he has fully, he will get his shot, since again, this is a sad linebacking corps.
Locks: Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Duke Dawson
Out: Cyrus Jones, Ryan Lewis, Keion Crossen, J.C. Jackson
Way Out: Jomal Wiltz
Comments: Gilmore is the clear #1 now, but who plays the other spots and in what order is anyone’s guess right now. The staff seems to like Rowe. And also Jonathan Jones, who got more time at corner as the year went on before he went down with an injury late. Some people think Jason McCourty may not be quite the lock some think he is. We’ll see, but that’s where I’m leaving him now. Dawson clearly makes it as a second round pick, but how much he plays is up for debate.
Lewis had some buzz in the spring and was on the practice squad most, if not all, of last year. But then the team signed McCourty and drafted Dawson. So much for that. Crossen was a seventh rounder and I’m not sure who Jackson or Wiltz are, so let’s leave them where they are for now.
Cyrus Jones? Interesting case. Is he worth keeping around and trying to salvage? Perhaps. He looked a little better in the preseason last year before being lost for the year with injury. But a ton better? I don’t think so. I don’t think he fumbled on returns anyway. Has Bill given up on second rounders before? Yup. Bill actually has taken several bad second round picks during his tenure. But he will get some kind of shot this summer, I will bet you that. Perhaps Cyrus or one of the others can play safety? They could also try to trade him, but what the heck are you going to get for him with how his career has gone thus far? It will be interesting to watch, since I have a feeling he may stick around.
Locks: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon
In: Jordan Richards
Out: Damarius Travis, A.J. Moore
Way Out: Eddie Pleasant
Released: David Jones
Comments: Locks are easy…then we get to Richards. Another dude who I think is atrocious. But another dude I think the staff loves for some reason. I don’t know if one of the corners can convert to safety and knock him off. Or one of these other safety characters can do it either. Jones spent last year the practice squad and was then dumped before camp. Travis was around on the practice squad last year too, but no one is chatting him up now. Moore? No idea. I do know they signed Pleasant the other day, so that seemingly leaves him out of the mix, barring a miracle. Right now, looks like Richards will be around. Sad to say.
Locks: Stephen Gostkowski (K), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Nate Ebner (ST), Brandon King (ST), Brandon Bolden (ST), Nicholas Grigsby (ST)
In: Ryan Allen (P)
Out: Corey Bojorquez (P), Geneo Grissom (ST)
Way Out: None
Comments: It’s amazing that with Gostkowski’s inconsistency the past few years the team has not brought someone in to at least challenge him a little bit. It just doesn’t make much sense. But with Stephen and Cardona facing no competition, they are locked in. The fact that another punter is in camp this year means Allen’s job is not safe. He probably holds the kid off, but we shall see on that.
The rest of the locks basically do not play another position, so they are listed here. And since Bill loves his core special teamers, they all stick with the exception of Grissom. But Geneo will be back. He’s a guy they can bounce on and off the roster and no one else wants him. So he will always be available. And perhaps even break camp with the squad as well.
That’s about the size of it. I’ll wait until later in camp to project the practice squad and IR/PUP/NFI and other lists. Looks like Slater, Ebner, Britt, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones are starting on the preseason PUP list. Bolden is on the non-football illness list apparently as well. Some of these dudes starting on the regular season PUP list will open up roster spots for others. Let’s see how that all goes.
Three preseason games down, one to go. Cut to 75 players on 9/1. Seems like a good time to do version number two:
Locks: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo
Way Out: Ryan Lindley
No changes. Again, Lindley makes it if Brady is suspended. I cannot believe there has not been a resolution to that whole thing yet…
Locks: LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray
In: James White, Dion Lewis
Out: Tavaris Cadet (Injured Reserve?), James Develin (IR)
Way Out: Tony Creecy
Lewis replaces Cadet, cuz as they say, “can’t make the club from the tub”. Not sure what the injury is, but if Cadet isn’t practicing now, his time may be up one way or the other. Gray seems like a lock now. I’m not ruling out them keeping Develin on the original roster, then putting him on Long-Term IR, Designated to Return when they can after rosters are initially set. My opinion is that it is not worth using that spot for the one time you can use it each year on a guy that plays like 15% of the snaps when he is healthy, so I just put him on IR here. But wouldn’t surprise me if they think differently.
Locks: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola
In: Reggie Wayne, Aaron Dobson
Out: Josh Boyce, Chris Harper, Jonathan Krause
Way Out: Zach D’Orazio
Four is thin here, but technically Slater could run a few routes, a couple of kids can land on the practice squad and be elevated in a pinch, one of the TE’s can split out wide if needed…one of the RB’s as well. LaFell looks like he is starting on the PUP list. They didn’t sign Wayne to a decent bonus to cut him a couple of weeks later. Dobson has of course been a disappointment, but at least he suited up last game. I’m not ruling them out keeping Harper on the original roster, then as other teams set their rosters the week before the games start, then they waive him to make his landing on the practice squad a little easier. Still could be a lot of moving pieces here the first few weeks…too many questions and health issues remain at this point.
Locks: Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler
In: Michael Hoomanawanui, Michael Williams
Out: Asante Cleveland
Way Out: Jimmay Mundine
Based on what I’ve heard, Williams seems like he has a great chance of sticking because he allegedly can play tackle too. Also been hearing Hoo-Man may step into Develin’s role somewhat. So the extra TE here seems like the right call. If you want to list Williams as an OL instead…whatever floats your boat.
Locks: Nate Solder (LT), Sebastian Vollmer (RT), Bryan Stork (C), Ryan Wendell (G/C), Marcus Cannon (T), Cameron Fleming (T/G?), Shaq Mason (G), Tre’ Jackson (G)
In: Josh Kline (G/C), David Andrews (C)
Out: Chris Barker (G), Ryan Groy (G)
Way Out: Caylin Hauptmann (T), Chris Martin (T)
The Andrews dude keeps getting a ton of run and certain writers are in love with him. It’s like I am forced here to add him. Then again, the Pats have a history of having undrafted free agents make the roster…and this year it appears he is the one. Other than him, seems pretty much cut and dried here. Just thank the Good Lord Jordan Devey got traded. Though reports are he may not make the Niners…so don’t rule him out coming back here. Please…no…
Locks: Stephen Gostkowski (K), Ryan Allen (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST)
Way Out: None
No changes. No competition.
Locks: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Trey Flowers
Way Out: None
Locks: Dominique Easley, Malcolm Brown, Sealver Siliga, Geneo Grissom
In: Zach Moore
Out: Alan Branch, Joe Vellano, Casey Walker
Way Out: A.J. Pataiali’l
No changes…just a gut feeling on Branch, that’s all. I suppose they may be able to get Moore on the practice squad and keep Branch, but I am siding with keeping the kid…for now.
Locks: Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo
In: Jonathan Freeny, James Morris, Rufus Johnson
Out: Darius Fleming, Dekoda Watson,
Way Out: Xzavier Dickson, DJ Lynch, Eric Martin
Guessing on Rufus…feel like he has shown up in the preseason. At least when I have been watching. Other than that, no changes.
Locks: Malcolm Butler, Tarell Brown
In: Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain, Logan Ryan
Out: Dax Swanson, Darryl Roberts (IR)
Way Out: Brandon King
This is still a highly questionable group. No comfort at all for me with this cast of characters. Butler has his moments and Brown looks like he will be the one opposite him. Fletcher seems to be getting better. Ryan has been putrid, but I don’t see them cutting him. Looks like a redshirt season for Roberts.
Locks: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards
In: Tavon Wilson
Out: Nate Ebner
Way Out: None
No changes. But Ebner is a staff favorite, so if they can squeeze him in somehow, he will be there.
Physically Unable to Perform (3): Chris Jones, Dane Fletcher, Brandon LaFell
Injured Reserve (5): A.J. Derby, Tyler Gaffney, Brandon Gibson, Brian Tyms, Jake Bequette
Non-Football Injury (0):
Practice squad (10): Barker, Boyce, Cleveland, Dickson, Groy, Harper, Krause, Mundine, Swanson, Walker
Added bonus! Roster is at 84 and needs to get to 75 on 9/1. I say the 9 guys are: Creecy, D’Orazio, Dickson, King, Lynch, both Martin’s, Pataiali’l, Watson