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Making the Cut(s): Brian's WAY too early Patriots 53-Man Roster Projections

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my ridiculously early Patriots 53-man roster projection. Now, there will be some controversial picks made here, as well as a few surprises, but don’t you worry - I’m only right 99.9 percent of the time!

So, without further delay...let's get started!

Quarterbacks (2)

  • Jarrett Stidham - Starter

  • Brian Hoyer - Backup

Breakdown: There really isn't much to break down here. It's been made pretty apparent that Stidham is the guy Week 1 and that Hoyer will be his backup. Barring an injury, I don’t see anything groundbreaking happening here. Number 4 will take over as QB1.

Running Backs (4)

  • Sony Michel - Starter

  • James White - 3rd Down/Passing RB

  • Damien Harris - Backup

  • J.J. Taylor - Backup

Breakdown: Surprise cut! Rex Burkhead is seemingly never healthy, has a higher cap hit than other guys in this group and I really see a lot of potential in Harris after he essentially red shirted last season. Sony Michel will also have plenty of competition for his job this year. J.J. Taylor reminds me a lot of James White and I think he ultimately makes the team.

Wide Receivers (5)

  • Julian Edelman - Starter

  • N’Keal Harry - Starter

  • Jakobi Meyers - Third Receiver

  • Jeff Thomas - Backup

  • Damiere Byrd - Backup

Breakdown: Where is Mohamed Sanu, you ask? I think Bill trades him. At a $6.5 million cap hit, the team may look at younger and cheaper options at WR. This is helped by the fact that they just spent 2 mid round picks on TE’s and will get David Andrews back to bolster their run game. Dark horse? Marquise Lee, but Jeff Thomas is insanely talented and I think he sticks.

Offensive Line (9)

  • David Andrews - Starter

  • Yodny Cajuste - Backup

  • Isaiah Wynn - Starter

  • Joe Thuney - Starter

  • Marcus Cannon - Starter

  • Michael Onwenu - Backup

  • Shaq Mason - Starter

  • Jermaine Eluemunor - Backup

  • Korey Cunningham - Swing Tackle

Breakdown: The Joe Thuney situation makes this projection very tricky. Does he play on the Franchise Tag figure? Will he ultimately be traded? I think that at this point, he stays. He may wind up being dealt before the trade deadline if either Onewu and Cajuste show the coaching staff that they can play at a high level. Marcus Cannon could be a cut-down day victim, but I think he sticks, plays the final year of his contract and then retires.

Fullback (1)

  • Dan Vitale - Starter

Breakdown: There's really nothing to break down here. Vitale is the new fullback, replacing the beloved and now retired James Develin. One observation: Vitale is a pretty decent option to catch the ball out of the backfield and could wind up playing a larger role in the offense.

Tight Ends (2)

  • Devin Asiasi - Starter

  • Dalton Keene - Backup

Breakdown: We finally have some young promising Tight Ends again! Barring injury, these two will get every opportunity to do some pretty extensive work in this offense. I like Jake Burt out of Boston College as well, but he might be a practice squad candidate.

Defensive Line (7)

  • Lawrence Guy - Starter

  • John Simon - Backup

  • Beau Allen - Backup

  • Adam Butler - Starter

  • Chase Winovich - Starter

  • Nick Coe - Backup

  • Byron Cowart - Backup

Breakdown: To me, this might be the weakest group on the entire defense. BUT...there is a ton of versatility with this group. Not to mention the fact that Josh Uche could play the edge in a pinch and Anfernee Jennings can do a little bit of everything up front as well. Chase Winovich needs to take that second year leap in order to elevate this group.

Linebackers (6)

  • Josh Uche - Starter

  • Dont'a Hightower - Starter

  • Ja'Whaun Bentley - Starter

  • Anfernee Jennings - Starter

  • Shilique Calhoun - Backup

  • Cassh Maluia - Backup

Breakdown: Not a ton of speed in this group, except for maybe Uche and Maluia, who’s a bit undersized for the position. But given the versatility that the Pats have on the back end and with their safeties, they should still be okay. A lot of these guys will be playing special teams.

Defensive Backs (9)

  • Adrian Phillips - Backup

  • Patrick Chung - Starter

  • Kyle Dugger - Backup

  • Devin McCourty - Starter

  • Jason McCourty - Backup

  • Stephon Gilmore - Starter

  • J.C. Jackson - Starter

  • Jonathan Jones - Slot/Third Corner

  • JoeJuan Williams - Backup

Breakdown: This is the deepest and most talented group of defensive backs in the entire NFL. It's so deep that their high 2nd round pick from the 2019 draft might struggle to get playing time, barring injury. Excited to see Dugger and Phillips line up all over the field.

Special Teams (8)

  • Joe Cardona - Long Snapper

  • Mathew Slater - Gunner

  • Justin Rohrwasser - Kicker

  • Jake Bailey - Punter

  • Brandon Bolden - Gunner/Returner

  • Justin Bethel - Gunner

  • Brandon King - Gunner

  • Sean Riley - Kick/Punt Returner

Breakdown: Of course Slater and Bolden make this group; they're staples from the best Special Teams unit in all of football last season. The rookie Rohrwasser should have an interesting training camp and it will be interesting to see how he handles it, considering the controversy surrounding him and his tattoos. Sean Riley is a really slept on undrafted free agent who comes to the Patriots having amassed 2,433 kick return yards during his time at Syracuse. Sanu returning punts after joining the team last season, so I think Riley can be an improvement and make a real impact there. Guys like J.J. Taylor and Jeff Thomas can also compete for PR and KR duties. As always, Bill will have very strong Special Teams in 2020.

Practice Squad (10)

  • Jake Burt - TE

  • J'Mar Smith - QB

  • Dustin Woodard - OL

  • Isaiah Zuber - WR

  • Justin Herron - OL

  • D'Angelo Ross - DB

  • Miles Bryant - DB

  • De'Jon Harris - LB

  • Courtney Wallace - DL

  • Rashod Berry - TE

So, what do you think of this breakdown, folks? What were the hits and misses? What kind of record do you think the Patriots could put together in 2020 with this particular group? Sound off in the comments and make sure to air all grievances with @CaptainCuddlezz on Twitter!

- Brian


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