Patriots 53-man roster projection: Who will survive cutdown day? – Pats Pulpit

    With the new england patriots’ preseason slate on the books after a 23-6 loss at the hands of the las vegas raiders on friday night, attention now turns to the final deadline of list cut on Tuesday afternoon. only 53 of the current 80 players will be able to make the opening day squad.

    then who will it be? Based on several boot camp practices and three exhibition contests, here’s our best estimate.

    Reading: Patriots 53 man roster projection


    list (3): mac jones, brian hoyer, bailey zappe

    unsurprisingly, mac jones is back as its starter with wise veteran brian hoyer as his mentor and main backer.

    an unexpected story from this position group is how well bailey zappe performed in the fourth round when given chances. Despite a record-breaking senior season in western Kentucky, Zappe’s stock fell heavily due to inconsistent accuracy and decision-making, as well as a below-average arm.

    This pre-season, zappe’s ball placement and knowledge have impressed, while his ability to create off the clock and stay poised under pressure has been a pleasant surprise.

    zappe is expected to be the team’s main backup next season.


    list (4): damien harris, rhamondre stevenson, pierre strong jr., ty montgomery

    practice team (1): kevin harris, j.j. Taylor

    damien harris and rhamondre stevenson remain at the top of the depth chart as one of the two most dynamic strikers in the league, but the team’s experiment with players who have designated units will be something to monitor during the regular season.

    ty montgomery will likely end up on short-term injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury in the last preseason game. To keep Montgomery on the 53-man starting roster and avoid ending the season, Kevin Harris can start the season on the practice squad.

    j.j. Taylor has excelled in the preseason since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2020, but found himself at the bottom because of his diminutive stature and the talent of his veteran ahead of him. Given Montgomery’s injury, Taylor may have his best chance yet to become a contributor this season, though I think he’ll start on the practice squad until someone is placed on injured reserve.

    Round 5’s Kevin Harris was the leading young runner in preseason and saw two screen targets in addition to running a bias off empty, but Round 4’s Pierre Strong Jr. he has seen more receiving plays and has been a returner, blocker and coverage player on special teams.

    I don’t think they both make the list, with kevin harris possibly starting his career on the practice squad due to the lack of special teams involvement.

    wide receiver

    list (6): jakobi meyers, devante parker, nelson agholor, kendrick bourne, tyquan thornton, lil’jordan humphrey

    practice team (2): kristian wilkerson, tre nixon

    cut (1): josh hammond

    jakobi meyers continues to be the last straw for the patriots offense, catching nearly twice as many targets at mac jones training camp than the next closest player.

    devante parker will bring size, elite contested catching ability and some downfield ferocity to the offense as the team’s top x-receiver. This change should free up Nelson Agholor to play off the ball and in the slot more often, which should better suit his electric skill set, if not overwhelming.

    Kendrick Bourne has had an eerily quiet training camp, but hopefully that’s just a blip and he’ll live up to the hype of a sophomore jump up the Patriots’ system.

    Tyquan Thornton was earning reps with the first team in training camp and preseason before suffering a collarbone injury, but should be back mid-season without much limitation.

    lil’jordan humphrey was a revelation in the preseason, grabbing anything that came his way and bringing toughness like a big slot machine. Humphrey initially seemed like a bubble boy due to depth at wide receiver, Thornton’s injury and Devin Asia’s disappointing start may have opened the door to a spot in the final-53.

    tre nixon has had some flashes this preseason, but he’s also struggled with knockdowns and his lack of effort on bailey zappe’s second preseason interception sealed the rotation. Kristian Wilkerson looked good catching zap passes in preseason week 1, but his injury during a Chippy Carolina Panthers joint practice stopped his development.

    tight end

    list (2): hunter henry, jonnu smith

    practice team (2): devin asiassi, matt sokol

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    cut (1): jalen wydermyer

    devin asiasi has done nothing to differentiate himself in year three despite the frustrating amount of talent. asiasi’s special teams contributions and proven lack of experience behind starters hunter henry and jonnu smith will likely stick.

    matt sokol has done his job quietly and, from my perspective, his play has earned him a spot on the practice squad.

    offensive line

    list (8): trent brown, cole strange, david andrews, michael onwneu, isaiah wynn, yodny cFIT, justin herron, kody russey

    practice team (6): arlington hambright, william sherman, james ferentz, chasen hines, bill murray, yasir durant

    cut (1): drew desjarlais

    lesion designation (1): andrew stueber

    The Patriots starting five are currently locked down, but there are a lot of question marks behind them.

    new england has an unusual amount of young developing talent in swing tackles yodny cjusto and justin herron, versatile arlington veterans hambright and will sherman, and experienced udfa center kody russey. The team also drafted two intriguing prospects in right guard Chasen Hines and offensive tackle Andrew Stueber, who was placed on the non-football injured list.

    Given injuries are a constant factor for starting tackle trent brown and isaiah wynn, as well as wynn’s future potentially up in the air, it might be wise to double down on local talents in cfit and herron. Yasir Durant could also stay on the practice squad, but the two former players appear to be ahead of him on the depth chart.

    kody russey may be strictly a center at this point in his career, but he has shown exceptional football IQ and I wonder if he would make the practice squad. that’s why he makes a team in this projection.

    James Ferentz is likely to stick around as a veteran who can play anywhere inside and be moved between the active roster and practice squad when needed.

    bill murray got off to a strong start to the preseason as a converted defensive tackle, displaying impressive athleticism. I think the team would like to continue developing it.

    defensive line

    list (6): davon godchaux, christian barmore, lawrence guy, deathrich wise jr., carl davis jr., sam roberts

    practice team (1): lybryan ray

    cut (2): henry anderson, jeremiah pharms jr.

    suspension (1): daniel ekuale

    davon godchaux is having a great start to the season after coach bill belichick called him one of the best defensive linemen in football. although godchaux is a solid nose tackle, i think the team would benefit from retaining carl davis jr., who has also been excellent, so godchaux can play different positions down the line.

    sixth round pick sam roberts has shown the disruptive ability he shone at the division ii level and could stick around as a developmental depth piece, at least until penetrating emergent daniel ekuale returns from suspension .

    udfa labryan ray and veteran henry anderson are similar defensive end types who excel against the run but lack explosiveness as pass-rushers. Ray’s youth and potential give him the edge.


    list (6): matthew judon, anfernee jennings, josh uche, ja’whaun bentley, raekwon mcmillan, mack wilson sr.

    practice team (3): harvey langi, jahlani tavai, cameron mcgrone

    cut (1) nate wieland

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    injury designation (1): ronnie perkins

    The patriots’ quick additions at linebacker already appear to be paying off, with raekwon mcmillan and mack wilson sr. making plays during the preseason that last year’s group simply couldn’t. McMillan appears to be the better option on the run and as a pass-rusher, while Wilson has seen a bigger role in coverage.

    jahlani tavai appears to be a team favorite and it’s hard not to fall in love with his effort on the field, but his coverage issues are a major liability and he’s not exceptional in any area. Harvey Langi is another highly regarded piece, but with limited depth physically, at inside linebacker, though he doesn’t offer the same special-teams advantages as tavai.

    cameron mcgrone didn’t make much of an impact in the preseason after being a hot name before training camp, but he may still need time to catch up with the pro game.

    anfernee jennings has emerged as the starting outside linebacker against matthew judon, with josh uche likely coming in on passes.


    list (6): jalen mills, jonathan jones, myles bryant, marcus jones, jack jones, shaun wade

    practice team (1): terrance mitchell

    injury designation (1): joejuan williams

    jalen mills appears to have emerged as the patriots’ top corner with jonathan jones moving out due to a lack of proven depth at the position.

    Career backup myles bryant has seized the top spot in the corner of the slot amid this secondary change, but the athleticism and ball skills of third-round draft pick marcus jones they could heat things up in the future. At the very least, Jones should be involved as the team’s best returner.

    jack jones’s aggressive fourth-round playing style has shined through several times this preseason, and it’s possible he could earn a role as a rookie as well.

    shaun wade has been a quality press corner this offseason and could be the answer to the defense’s lack of size at cornerback.

    terrance mitchell has been a solid veteran addition, committing a forced fumble in the featured video when he hit a ball in the first preseason game. he could be in the mix during the season when the team plays with a bigger receiving corps.


    list (5): devin mccourty, kyle dugger, adrian phillips, jabrill peppers, joshuah bledsoe

    cut (1): brad hawkins

    The Patriots’ deepest position group is also one of the easiest to project.

    devin mccourty, kyle dugger and adrian phillips are a ferocious three-headed monster in the secondary, while the signing of jabrill peppers adds even more versatility and explosiveness to the group.

    joshua bledsoe has emerged as an intriguing young player after missing most of his first season with injury. his ability to play deep, in the box and in the slot makes him a valuable backup who could see a bigger role in the future.

    myles bryant appears to be the main backup at deep behind mccourty and dugger, but bledsoe could contend for the job as the season progresses.

    special teams

    list (7): nick folk, jake bailey, joe cardona, matthew slater, justin bethel, brenden schooler, damarcus mitchell

    this may be matthew slater’s last season in the nfl, so here’s hoping it’s his best yet.

    cody davis is a tough cut, and i wouldn’t be surprised if belichick proves me wrong here, but the rise of undrafted free agent brenden schooler probably earned him a spot on the roster. he has played on almost every special teams unit and has run with the starters.

    fellow udfa and outside linebacker damarcus mitchell has also seen time with top dogs on special teams, earned after making his presence felt in a big way on multiple units. Mitchell has also shown shrinkage and potential as a running back, although he is still raw and needs development.

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