Projecting the 53-Man Roster for 2013 New England Patriots

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Projecting the 53-Man Roster for the 2013 New England Patriots

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Greg M. Cooper- USA Today Sports

The New England Patriots retooled their roster in the 2013 offseason, with multiple overhauls at key positions. With Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd no longer on the roster, Julian Edelman is the only returning wide receiver from last season. Danny Amendola was signed to replace Welker as the slot receiver in their offensive system.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots were able to sign veteran safety Adrian Wilson and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly in free agency.

Cornerback Aqib Talib and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, two highly sought-after free agents, re-signed with the Patriots.

The Patriots picked Jamie Collins, linebacker out of Southern Mississippi, with their first selection. He’s no. 52 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. They also bolstered their receiving core by drafting Aaron Dobson out of Marshall and Josh Boyce, who played his college ball at TCU.

Former Rutgers players were popular selections for the Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Pats selected Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon in the third round, 83rd and 91st overall respectively.

With so many new faces being added in the offseason, the Patriots will face some difficult cuts come September when the regular season kicks off and the roster must be trimmed down to 53 players. The offensive line and the wide receiver positions will have the most competitive battles for roster spots on the offense, while the defensive line and safety positions will have the most grueling fights for spots on the defensive side of the ball.

Without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2013 New England Patriots 53-Man Roster:

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Quarterbacks

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Greg M. Cooper- USA Today Sports

Projected QB Depth Chart:

1. Tom Brady 2. Ryan Mallett

The Patriots will presumably only carry two quarterbacks on the roster. This means that current third-string quarterback Mike Kafka will likely not be on the roster come September.

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Running Backs

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Michael Ivins- USA Today Sports

Projected RB Depth Chart:

1. Stevan Ridley 2. Shane Vereen 3. LeGarrette Blount 4. Brandon Bolden

Stevan Ridley was one of the most dominant running backs in the AFC in 2012, rushing for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns, which earned him the starting job for the 2013 season. Vereen is the only other lock at the running back position, especially if the Pats opt to use kick/punt returner Leon Washington in the backfield. Blount will probably make the roster, but Bolden’s job could be in jeopardy come September. OTA’s and the preseason will determine if Blount and Bolden can both make the roster.

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Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

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Greg M. Cooper- USA Today Sports

Projected WR Depth Chart:

1.Danny Amendola 2. Julian Edelman 3. Aaron Dobson 4. Josh Boyce 5. Donald Jones

Amendola will have the duties of replacing Welker, who was the primary target of Brady since 2007. Edelman, the lone-returning wideout from last year’s roster, will also have a critical role in the offense. Rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce should also factor into the offense in 2013. I project Donald Jones will make the roster over veterans Michael Jenkins and Lavelle Hawkins, who were both highly ineffective in 2012.

Projected TE Depth Chart:

1.Rob Gronkowski 2. Aaron Hernandez 3. Jake Ballard 4. Michael Hoomanawanui

With Gronkowski enduring four offseason surgeries on his forearm and a back surgery looming, Hernandez could be counted on heavily at the start of the season. Ballard could also hold a major role in the offense if Gronkowski is to miss any regular season action. Tight end Daniel Fells will likely be one of the Patriots last cuts.

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Offensive Line

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Greg M. Cooper- USA Today Sports

Projected Left Tackle Depth Chart:

1.Nate Soldier 2. Will Svitek

Projected Left Guard Depth Chart:

1. Logan Mankins 2. Tyronne Green (can play Center and Right Guard as well)

Projected Center Depth Chart:

1.Ryan Wendell

Projected Right Guard Depth Chart:

1.Dan Connolly

Projected Right Tackle Depth Chart:

1. Sebastian Vollmer 2. Marcus Cannon 3. Markus Zusevics

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Defensive Line

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Jason O. Watson- USA Today Sports

Projected Defensive End Depth Chart:

1.Chandler Jones 2. Rob Ninkovich 3. Justin Francis 4. Michael Buchanan 5. Jake Bequette

Projected Defensive Tackle Depth Chart:

1. Vince Wilfork 2. Tommy Kelly 3. Armond Armstead 4. Marcus Fortson

The Patriots made an underrated signing by picking up Tommy Kelly. He will take some pressure off Vince Wilfork, the leader of an improving Patriots defense.

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Linebackers

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Kim Klement- USA Today Sports

Projected Linebackers: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher

2012 Pro-Bowler Jerod Mayo will lead this linebacking crew, along with veteran Brandon Spikes, sophomore Dont'a Hightower, rookie Jamie Collins and 2010 undrafted free agent Dane Fletcher

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Defensive Backs

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Mark Zerof- USA Today Sports

Projected CB Depth Chart:

1. Aqib Talib 2. Alonzo Dennard 3. Kyle Arrington 4. Logan Ryan 5. Ras-I Dowling

Projected Safety Depth Chart:

1. Adrian Wilson 2. Devin McCourty 3. Tavon Wilson 4. Steve Gregory 5. Duron Harmon

Adrian Wilson has the potential to be a dangerous playmaker in the Patriots' secondary. Wilson, a five-time Pro Bowler, is one of just six players in league history to top at least 25 interceptions and 25 sacks.

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Special Teams'

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Steve Mitchell- USA Today Sports

Kicker: Stephen Gostowski

Punter: Zoltan Mesko

Long Snapper: Danny Aiken

Kick Returners: Leon Washington and Matthew Slater

Punt Returner: Leon Washington

The Patriots struggled mightily (25th ranked) in the kick-return game last season. In order to address this weakness, the Pats signed Washington, who has returned eight kickoffs for touchdowns in his career. He's tied with Josh Cribbs for the most in NFL history.


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