Predicting the New England Patriots' Final 53-Man Roster

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Predicting the New England Patriots' Final 53-Man Roster

Tom Brady New England Patriots roster
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With the first wave of roster cuts due to come down Tuesday morning, it’s crunch time in New England. Tommy Kelly, Will Smith, and James Anderson were let go Monday afternoon, kicking the festivities off a little early. Let’s take a look at what the Patriots’ final 53-man roster will be when cuts are over later this month.

Quarterbacks (2)

Jimmy Garoppolo New England Patriots roster
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks (2)

Jimmy Garoppolo New England Patriots roster
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo

Even if Ryan Mallett isn’t traded to the St. Louis Rams or some other quarterback-needy team, Garoppolo will be the guy that the Patriots stick with if they decide to keep only keep two quarterbacks. In addition to his upside, Garoppolo has simply looked like the competent passer this preseason.

Running Backs (5)

Stevan Ridley New England Patriots roster
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs (5)

Stevan Ridley New England Patriots roster
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, James White, Roy Finch, James Develin

The rumors that the Patriots would cut Ridley in favor of Brandon Bolden are ridiculous. Ridley is by far the team’s best ball carrier, even with his fumbling issues. Bolden won’t be able to make the team over diminutive but dangerous undrafted rookie Finch, as the 5-foot-6’ electric outlet will be useful in kick returns. Develin as locked in as the backfield’s snowplow.

Wide Receivers (6)

Brandon LaFell New England Patriots roster
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receivers (6)

Brandon LaFell New England Patriots roster
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Brandon LaFell, Josh Boyce, Matthew Slater

The only reason Boyce squeaks onto the roster is because of Brian Tyms’ four-game suspension in September. Thompkins makes the team because of his burgeoning chemistry with Tom Brady, LaFell is on the roster because his heavy August workload indicates the Pats will use him often this season, and Slater is the resident special teamer.

Tight Ends (3)

Michael Hoomanawanui New England Patriots roster
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tight Ends (3)

Michael Hoomanawanui New England Patriots roster
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Steve Maneri

There’s not much to write home about regarding Maneri’s receiving ability, but the former offensive tackle could be an asset as a blocker. It is somewhat surprising that the Patriots didn’t get an insurance plan in the event Gronkowski gets hurt, but evidently Bill Belichick has confidence in Hoomanawanui.

Offensive Line (9)

Nate Solder New England Patriots roster
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Lineman (9)

Nate Solder New England Patriots roster
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

T: Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming
G: Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Josh Kline
C: Ryan Wendell, Bryan Stork

Fleming, who doubled majored in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford, stands to be a promising depth player at tackle. Although limited this preseason, Stork has been back at practice and is vying for the starting center role.

Defensive Lineman (9)

Vince Wilfork New England Patriots roster
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Lineman (9)

Vince Wilfork New England Patriots roster
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

DE: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jerel Worthy, Zach Moore, Michael Buchanon
DT: Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley, Sealver Siliga, Joe Vellano

After the releases of Tommy Kelly and Will Smith, the Patriots’ plan on the defensive line is starting to become clearer. Worthy will be an excellent complement to Ninkovich and Wilfork if Jones is an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Easley leads a pair of 2013 returners in backup duty.

Linebackers (6)

Jerod Mayo New England Patriots roster
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers (6)

Jerod Mayo New England Patriots roster
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower, Steve Beauharnais, Darius Fleming, Ja'Gared Davis

It’s not totally clear whether the Patriots will stick with the 4-3 defense from last year or revert back to their 3-4 scheme of the glory days. Regardless, these six players will make up the linebacking corps. Keep an eye on Fleming, who has impressed this month after missing the past few seasons due to multiple ACL injuries on the same knee.

Defensive Backs (10)

Malcolm Butler New England Patriots roster
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs (10)

Malcolm Butler New England Patriots roster
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

CB: Darrelle Revis, Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler, Kyle Arrington
S: Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner

Butler has launched himself from undrafted anonymity to a sure-fire roster spot in the Patriots’ secondary. Note that Brandon Browner will return to the roster after a four-game suspension in September, unseating either Wilson or Ebner, depending on who is playing worse.

Special Teams (3)

Stephen Gostkowski New England Patriots roster
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams (3)

Stephen Gostkowski New England Patriots roster
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

K: Stephen Gostkowski
P: Ryan Allen
LS: Danny Aiken

No surprises here. All three of these guys are in the top tiers of their respective guilds.