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New England Patriots: The 5 Most Surprising Roster Cuts of 2014

New England Patriots: The 5 Most Surprising Roster Cuts of 2014

Josh Boyce Ryan Mallett
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The biggest roster moves the New England Patriots have made in the last few weeks have come via trades, with the sendoff of team captain Logan Mankins and the sometimes up-and-coming, sometimes head-scratching Ryan Mallett. However, there were a few questions asked and a few eyebrows raised by the release of a handful of Patriots players.

5. DE Will Smith

Will Smith
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5. DE Will Smith

Will Smith
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Although it happened all the way before the 75-man roster cuts on August 27, the man with 67.5 career sacks had a shot of making one of New England's weakest units. But the defensive end hadn't played since 2012 because of a torn ACL wasn't a fit in the team's 3-4 scheme.

4. TE Steve Maneri

Steve Maneri
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4. TE Steve Maneri

Steve Maneri
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For the first three exhibitions, Maneri was the only tight end who suited up for the Patriots. With a career stat line that read six catches for 52 yards in 23 games, the converted tight end-turned-offensive tackle-turned-tight end-again was making a run at a roster spot. That was until Logan Mankins was traded for Tim Wright, the undersized tight end who caught 55 passes in his rookie year.

3. DT Tommy Kelly

Tommy Kelly
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3. DT Tommy Kelly

Tommy Kelly
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Like Smith before the 75-man roster cuts, the 33-year-old Kelly, was a bit of a surprise cut. After an ACL tear relegated the 300-plus pound player to the IR last November, it was expected the former Raider would be able to help a soft core of Patriots defensive tackles. However, the team decided to stick with Vince Wilfork and Sealver Siliga, along with the young gun trio of Chris Jones, Joe Vellano and Dominique Easley.

2. WR Josh Boyce

Josh Boyce
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2. WR Josh Boyce

Josh Boyce
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The toughest thing to take from Boyce's cut is that he was a third-round pick just one year ago. The TCU product had a pile of healthy scratches in 2013 and only caught nine passes in nine games. He did show promise in special teams, but the Patriots already have Matt Slater for that. All there is to do now is place Boyce on the list of poor wide receiver selections during the Belichick era.

1. LS Danny Aiken

Danny Aiken
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1. LS Danny Aiken

Danny Aiken
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Last year, it was Zoltan Mesko, and this year it is Danny Aiken. The difference is that the Patriots had a replacement for Mesko. Rookie Ryan Allen is already on the team and turned out to be the right choice. Long snapper Danny Aiken was cut loose without any specialized substitute on the 53. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has the surrogate duties, but expect a true long snapper to be brought in prior to the opener.