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New England Patriot Roster Projection-Defense, v2

Right to the defense…

DE (5):

Locks:  Trey Flowers, Adrian Clayborn, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise

In:  Keionta Davis

Out:  Eric Lee

Way Out:  Frank Herron

Comments:  Guess I probably should have had Clayborn in the “lock” category all along.  Davis has been getting some prime time and a ton of praise, so I made some room for him.  Not much else has changed here.

DT (4):

Locks:  Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton

In:  Adam Butler

Out:  Vincent Valentine

Way Out:  John Atkins, Trent Harris

Comments:  Adding Davis, knocks Valentine off.  Davis apparently has played some inside, so maybe that’s legit.  I still wouldn’t be surprised if both Adam and Vincent broke camp with the team.  But one of them may not make it.  Right now I say Vincent.  But tomorrow I could say Adam.  Likely really doesn’t matter either way of course.

LB (5):

Locks:  Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Ja’Whaun Bentley

In:  Marquis Flowers, Elandon Roberts

Out:  Christian Sam

Way Out:  None

Injured Reserve?:  Harvey Langhi

Comments:  Bentley seems to be the biggest story of camp…well, other than that putrid wide receiver group.  The biggest positive story perhaps?  I’m locking him in because of that.  I’d rather keep just about anyone other than Flowers and Roberts.  But my sense is that they are staying.  Langhi may be ticketed for IR again this year.  It is clearly still an underwhelming group.

CB (6):

Locks:  Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Duke Dawson

In:  Cyrus Jones, J.C. Jackson

Out:  Jason McCourty, Ryan Lewis, Keion Crossen,

Way Out:  Jomal Wiltz

Comments:  I’m buying into the “McCourty doesn’t make the team buzz”.  Unless he can play safety and beats that stiff Jordan Richards off the team.  Jason played some safely in the last game.  Not sure that’s enough to keep him.  I just have a feeling Cyrus gets one more chance…especially with the team really not having a punt returner for at least 4 games.  And who wants Edelman returning them anyway once he comes back?  Undrafted free agents usually make the Pats every year.  Sometimes one, sometimes more.  I think the only one of those dudes I have on my squad now is Jackson.  After all, he was supposed to be drafted, but teams shied away because of some of his off-field hijinx.  He may not make it through waivers to the practice squad.  The others like Crossen and Lewis may.  And don’t you want to keep some of these young guys when you look at the group as a whole?  Other than Gilmore, a bunch of question marks.

S (4):

Locks:  Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon

In:  Jordan Richards

Out:  Damarius Travis

Way Out:  A.J. Moore

Released:  Eddie Pleasant

Comments:  Still Richards…yup.  I don’t want it.  But I don’t see him being jettisoned.

Specialists (8):

Locks:  Stephen Gostkowski (K), Ryan Allen (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Nate Ebner (ST), Brandon King (ST), Brandon Bolden (ST), Nicholas Grigsby (ST)

In:  None

Out:  Corey Bojorquez (P), Geneo Grissom (ST)

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Looks like Allen has held off the kid, as “Bojo” hasn’t punted in the preseason at all.  I actually looked to include Grissom this time around, since he was playing with the first string defense last game.  Yes, I swear I saw him.  But in the end, since he is a guy that can come and go off the roster, I kept him off.  But we haven’t seen the last of him, I can promise you that.

As far as the IR/PUP/NFI and practice squad go, well, I took a stab at some IR guys earlier.  Doesn’t look like anyone is eligible for the PUP list, as it appears all of the preseason PUP guys were activated off it.  The NFI list has a couple of wide receivers on it in Darren Andrews and Cody Hollister…but if they were healthy they sure as hell ain’t helping that group anyway.

Practice squad?  10 spots there.  If we go by my calculations, I would put the following 10 on the ideal initial practice squad:  Etling, Webb, McCarron, Lucien, Ferentz, Lee, Valentine, Sam, Lewis and Crossen.

Pats projected roster…defense and specialists…

First exhibition game tonight.  Continuing on with the projections.  27 guys on offense so far.,,here are the rest (again, (L) for locks):

DL:  Chandler Jones (L), Vince Wilfork (L), Rob Ninkovich (L), Tommy Kelly (L), Sealver Siliga (L), Chris Jones (L), Will Smith, Michael Buchanan, Zach Moore, Dominique Easley:

Some of the pundits are fast to subtract Kelly.  I don’t see it.  I guess if the Pats think that Joe Vellano has more upside.  Siliga’s injury could provide some room.  But I’m not sure Marcus Fortson or Jake Bequette are making the team over Kelly.  I’m convinced that Easley actually starts on the Non-Football injury list, so there should be room for one more anyway.  Pretty sure Buchanan has a spot, based on flashes last season…and youth.  Not convinced Smith makes it, but with all the uncertainty, he will probably sneak on.  I have read everywhere that despite coming from Division II, Moore has so much upside that he won’t clear waivers to the practice squad.  Maybe that is why they needed to take him the 6th round instead of the 7th.  Who knows?  But at this point I feel I have to keep him based on all the info I have seen.  But once the exhibition games start he could totally fail…again, who knows?

LB:  Jerod Mayo (L), Dont’a Hightower (L), Jamie Collins (L), James Anderson (L), Steve Beauharnais, Chris White:

I hope that with Collins’ emergence late last year that one, he is for real and two, that moves Hightower into a different role in which he can be more effective.  Dont’a hasn’t impressed many, but maybe 3rd year in the system (and a different role) this is the year.  If Collins and Dont’a don’t cut it, this area is a real concern.  Especially if Mayo doesn’t return from his injury last year with the same skills.  White makes the team based on his special teams play.  Beauharnais on his youth and potential upside.  But pickin’s beyond that are slim…from what I know anyway.  Maybe Darius Fleming is something.  And Anderson is better than a 4th linebacker.  Seems to me that this could be a position to target at the end of camp through waiver wire pickups.  Although that doesn’t necessarily excite me either.

DB:  Darrelle Revis (L), Devin McCourty (L), Alfonzo Dennard (L), Kyle Arrington (L), Logan Ryan (L), Duron Harmon (L), Nate Ebner:

Admittedly pretty light here and will definitely change.  Especially considering that Ebner is really a special teamer.  Initially, I think the Pats keep as many big bodies on the lines as possible to start the year.  The schedule is not taxing at the beginning of the year, for one.  Gives them time to evaluate some other positions before evolving in the defensive backfield.  Brandon Browner is not listed here because he is suspended for the first 4 games, for two.  Once he comes back, there will be a trim at another position.  For three, they should be able to re-sign a Patrick Chung, Justin Green, Tavon Wilson or Kanorris Davis, probably on a week-by-week basis if needed.  So you can go a little lighter here to start the season I feel.  Especially if they think Revis will just shut down his side completely.  A kink in the plans would come if a guy like Daxton Swanson or Malcolm Butler starts making some noise and warrants a roster spot.  I’m holding off on that for now though.  Looks to me they may try to stash 6th rounder Jemea Thomas on IR as well.  That could change too.

Specialists:  Stephen Gostkowski-K (L), Ryan Allen-P (L), Danny Aiken-LS:

No other kickers/punters in camp, nice easy one here.  I suppose if they wanted to save a few bucks somewhere, they could keep the kid out of Harvard (Tyler Ott) over Aiken.  I suspect that Aiken would have to bomb completely in the preseason for that to happen though.

That’s 53 between the two posts.  Surely to change a ton.  But good for now.  I’m not even going to venture (separate) guesses at the “lists” (IR, NFI, PUP…and practice squad) at this point.  Even though I did give some thoughts to these above.  But I’ll firm up those lists as time goes on.  Until next week on these…

Finalizing the 53…

Continuing on from the last post…filling out the defense, special teams and the various “lists”:

DE-(5):

  1. C. Jones–L
  2. Ninkovich–L
  3. Benard–L
  4. Francis–L
  5. Bequette

* No one has seen anything at all from Bequette yet.  But even though Bill has no problem cutting high draft choices, he may get one more year to prove himself.  Feel like he gets a spot because of that.  There’s a depth issue here too, as no one knows what to expect out of Benard or Francis, though the Pats seem to be high on the both.  Hoping that Chandler takes the next step up.

DT-(4):

  1. Wilfork–L
  2. Kelly–L
  3. Fortson
  4. Vellano

*Thin.  That’s an understatement.  Makes you wonder why they let Love and Deaderick go so easily a long time ago.  I know they expected Armstead to make some noise here, but who knows if he would?  Vellano is the 4th DT, but there were really no other choices.  Unless you count Cunningham, who played a little in that spot last year.  But he’s been MIA and I’m guessing he ends up on IR.  Not a big loss anyway.  So Vellano started last night, guess that gives him a leg up.  There will be some action here in the next week or so.

LB-(5):

  1. Mayo–L
  2. Spikes–L
  3. Hightower–L
  4. Collins–L
  5. Fletcher–L

*Another somewhat thin group, but the way I see it, Ninkovich and Benard can play a LB-type role as well, so there is some depth there.  Guys like Koutouvides and Rivera could likely be signed later (especially after Week 1, where some contract guarantees go out the window).  Possibly even Tarpinian, who never went anywhere last year when released and was able to land back on the practice squad.  The same will probably happen this year.  At least the upper end talent seems to be strong here.

CB-(6):

  1. Talib–L
  2. Arrington–L
  3. Dennard–L
  4. Ryan–L
  5. Dowling
  6. Cole

*Not sure how completely healthy Dennard is, or what the status is going forward about his overall availability.  But feel like he will still factor into the mix, even though Arrington apparently will go back to starting in the regular defense…at least for now.  I really wanted to cut Dowling.  But based on the fact that he is still around (though apparently still injured…surprise!), I really feel like they will keep him active and give him one more shot.  Wanted to cut Cole too, but with the uncertainty around Dennard and Dowling, and for his special teams value, felt he will find a way onto the roster…at least until there was a better option available.

S-(5):

  1. McCourty–L
  2. Gregory–L
  3. Harmon–L
  4. A. Wilson
  5. T. Wilson

*People keep trying to get rid of Gregory, but he is clearly the 2nd best option back there now…scary as that sounds.  Harmon is no great shakes it appears, but he is a 3rd rounder this year, so he sticks.  I have some questions about Adrian Wilson however.  I think he makes it, but I think the impact that he will have will be much less than what fans expected…or at least hoped for.  Tavon Wilson seems like a 2nd round bust from a year ago.  It was said at some point last year that he could surprise people.  But I have heard nothing but negative things about him this year.  He should get one more year, simply because again, there are really no options behind him.  But he is far from safe.

Specialists-(3):

  1. Gostkowski (K)–L
  2. Mesko (P)–L
  3. D. Aiken (LS)–L

*Gostkowski has had some trouble it appears this preseason.  But that could be partly due to the whole operation (snapper/holder) and not just him.  Most teams bring in another kicker in camp, to ease the burden at the very least.  But the Pats did not.  He is secure.  Mesko is in the final year of his contract and Ryan Allen is/will be much cheaper.  Plus Allen is an accomplished college punter.  But if there was a true competition in the preseason, Mesko still won.  Plus, Mesko has experience as a holder, Allen does not.  I think they like Allen, but not enough to give him the job…yet.  I think they try and put him on the practice squad.  Yes, a punter on the practice squad.  I believe the Pats have done it before.  They have another LS in camp (Zupancic), not sure why in this case though.

Injured Reserve-(3):

  1. Cunningham
  2. Ebner
  3. Grissom

*Cunningham hasn’t been around and I am not sure if they would just release him instead.  But I suppose if the option is there to put him on IR, they would.  Ebner hasn’t been around either and this could conveniently be a “redshirt” year for him too, since he hasn’t played much football in the past.  He has some ability and would be worth keeping around.  Grissom left the game the other night and went right to the locker room.  Which doesn’t seem good.  Don’t know much about him, but one scribe had him making the 53 before the last game, so it appears he would be worth stashing on IR.

Non-Football Injury-(2):

  1. Armstead
  2. Harrison

*I believe the rules for this list are the same as the PUP, where these guys would be on the shelf for 6 weeks, then be eligible to practice and then a decision would be made on whether to activate them, put them on season-ending IR, or release them.  Armstead signed for decent dough, so putting him here is a no-brainer.  Harrison they say has decent tools, but a checkered past.  No harm in leaving him here as well.

Physically Unable to Perform-(1):

  1. Gronkowski

*Always a chance he makes the 53 and plays in something like Week 4.  I have to believe the Pats proceed cautiously here.  Bill always likes to keep his options open as well, as far as keeping control of as many players as he possibly can for as long as he can.  Gronk may be a different case however, since he is a difference-maker (while in the past, they have used the PUP list for depth-type guys, it has seemed).  But I think they play it safe to start.

Practice Squad-(8):

  1. Buchanan (DE)
  2. Beauharnais (LB)
  3. K. Aiken (WR)
  4. Tarpinian (LB)
  5. R. Allen (P)
  6. Winn (RB)
  7. Reserve OL #1 (Kline, McDonald, Patterson, Schwab, Stankiewitch)
  8. Reserve OL #2 (Kline, McDonald, Patterson, Schwab, Stankiewitch)

*There is always the chance the top 2 make the 53, at the expense of someone like Bequette, T. Wilson, Cole or someone of that nature.  But since they were low picks, maybe they feel they can sneak them through the the practice squad.  They seem to have some affinity for Aiken, and he can play special teams, but there is no room at WR for him now.  He missed the last game, so there is also the possibility he lands on IR.  Tarpinian was here last year, so it is likely they could keep him here if they want.  I think they’d like Allen to be here, but there is always a chance he gets claimed.  The last 3 are total guesses.  The reality is, they will probably have 4 guys from the current camp make it down to the squad and getting the 4 others from the rest of the leagues’ cuts.

Just for fun, here are the 9 guys I don’t think will make it to the next game.  Total crapshoot, we shall see how many I can get right:

  1. Bartholomew (FB)
  2. Davis (S)
  3. Haggerty (WR)
  4. Landi (TE)
  5. Lewis (CB)
  6. White (DT)
  7. Winn (RB)
  8. Zupancic (LS)
  9. Grissom to IR

*I didn’t remember seeing many of these guys even during extreme scrub time the other night, so it seems convenient to pick them.  White was out there, and they may opt to keep a guy like him just so guys like Wilfork and Kelly don’t have to play against the Giants.  That’s why I see all of the 5 reserve offensive lineman sticking through this cut.  And corners like Justin Green and Brandon Jones too.  At this stage of the roster shaping, Grissom may have to pass through waivers to land on IR (like Mattes, Moe & Tyronne Green did, who are already on IR), so the Pats may opt to pick someone else instead in order to not risk losing him.  And if a veteran like Edelman, Blount or Adrian Wilson truly is not going to make the team, they may opt to show them respect and cut them now, to give them a better chance of sticking somewhere else.  But to me that is doubtful and it is probably too late for the “respect” angle anyway.

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