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Making the Cut(s) Part II: Brian's Final Patriots 53 Man Roster Projection

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my updated Patriots 53 man roster projection. Now, be warned, as there will be some controversial picks in here. Keep in mind, though, with roster cuts from other teams coming this weekend, there will also be some outside additions coming. If you want to go back and look at just how wrong my initial picks were, take a look here!

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

Quarterbacks (3)

  • Cam Newton - Starter

  • Jarrett Stidham - Backup

  • Brian Hoyer - Third String

Breakdown: There isn't really anything to break down here. Cam Newton is the clear starter at Quarterback this time, as Stidham just couldn't keep up with him while battling his hip injury. With Brian Hoyer's strong play in camp and knowledge of the offense, he should remain on the roster and serve as insurance for both Cam and Stidham in the event of injury.

Running Backs (4)

  • Damien Harris - Starter

  • James White - Third Down/Passing RB

  • Rex Burkhead - Backup

  • Sony Michel - Backup

Breakdown: This position group was tricky, largely due to two specific factors: first, J.J. Taylor has had a great camp and even drawn Dion Lewis comparisons. Secondly, Damien Harris has taken on a big role in practice and looks ready to break out as a lead back in 2020. This could put Sony Michel in danger of not making the team. I think he stays for now, but I also wouldn't be shocked if he's cut. J.J. Taylor is a real threat; Lamar Miller hasn't shown enough.

Wide Receivers (5)

  • Julian Edelman - Starter

  • N'Keal Harry - Starter

  • Gunner Olszewski - Third Receiver

  • Devin Ross - Backup

  • Mohamed Sanu - Backup

Breakdown: Since the time of my last projection, a lot has happened. Gunner Olszewski had a breakout camp and now looks like a roster lock. Jeff Thomas hasn't been able to stay on the practice field, so it looks like he's out (but also a strong practice squad candidate). Devin Ross has come out of nowhere and looked great in the slot. Barring injuries, this your group. Oh, and Jakobi Meyers had a very subpar camp. Last year, he stood out big time; this year, you couldn't even tell he's out there. While he could still make it, to me, Ross has won the spot.

Offensive Line (9)

  • David Andrews - Starting C

  • Yodny Cajuste - Backup

  • Isaiah Wynn - Starting LT

  • Joe Thuney - Starting LG

  • Hjalte Froholdt - Backup

  • Michael Onwenu - Backup

  • Shaq Mason - Starting RG

  • Jermaine Eluemunor - Starting RT

  • Korey Cunningham - Swing Tackle

Breakdown: With Marcus Cannon opting out of the 2020 season, Jermaine Eluemunor seems to be running away with the starting RT spot. Yodny Cajuste, once thought of as a candidate to start, has been set back yet again by injuries and might be in danger of perhaps not even making the team. Meanwhile, Hjalte Froholdt seems to have taken on Ted Karras' previous role with the team and should be safe. Rookie Justin Herron has also looked the part in camp and might be the one to replace Cajuste if he's cut; he could also be part of a numbers game himself, though, as there are only so many spots to go around. Cajuste sticks for now.

Tight Ends/Fullbacks (3)

  • Devin Asiasi - Starter

  • Dalton Keene - Backup/H-Back

  • Ryan Izzo - Blocking TE

Breakdown: I bunched these position groups together, as there seem to be a few variables at play here. First, let's start with Asiasi, who flashed in camp and looks like a very promising blocker as well. He's likely your starter Week 1. Keene, on the other hand, hasn't seemed to click as much in practice, but with Dan Vitale opting out, he could wind up playing some sort of H-Back/Tight End hybrid role for the team -- think Kyle Juszczyk or something along those lines. Ryan Izzo and Jake Burt are also battling to make the team, but Izzo seems to have the upper hand as of right now. Jakob Johnson also has a shot at making the team as a more traditional FB. Several factors are at play, but ultimately I believe the young guys will win out.

Defensive Line (8)

  • Lawrence Guy - Starter

  • John Simon - Starter

  • Xavier Williams - Backup

  • Adam Butler - Starter

  • Chase Winovich - Starter

  • Deatrich Wise - Backup

  • Byron Cowart - Backup

  • Derek Rivers - Backup

Breakdown: To me, this is the weakest position group on the Patriots defense. However, there is definitely a lot of versatility. Beau Allen has been a disappointment up to this point, as the team has seen very little of him on the practice field; he might make the roster by default, though, due to how thin the team is at DT right now. Deatrich Wise has been disruptive at camp at his new reduced weight, which could bode well for him and the defense, as he's been inconsistent despite great promise thus far in his career. Rivers, Williams and Cowart have all had good camps and helped themselves lock up spots. Run D on this team is still very leaky, so I expect some type of move in the coming days after roster cuts and waivers.

Linebackers (6)

  • Josh Uche - Starter

  • Brandon Copeland - Backup

  • Ja'Whaun Bentley - Starter

  • Anfernee Jennings - Starter

  • De'Jon Harris - Backup

  • Cassh Maluia - Backup

Breakdown: With Dont'a Hightower gone as part of the COVID-19 opt outs, Rookie Josh Uche seems to be getting the keys to the LB corps. He's had a very strong camp and looks poised to take on a leadership role. Bentley will also get his shot alongside Uche and I'm very much intrigued to see how they both handle their increased roles. Anfernee Jennings figures to get a lot of playing time as a rookie as well, but he could be someone who plays more on 1st and 2nd down or in sub packages. Cassh Maluia has had a strong camp as a rookie, making plays all over the field -- he looks like he could play a key role on special teams. Copeland has had a very solid camp and will provide depth and experience behind Bentley and Uche.

Defensive Backs (9)

  • Adrian Phillips - Starting Safety/Special Teams

  • Kyle Dugger - Backup/Special Teams

  • Devin McCourty - Starting Safety

  • Stephon Gilmore - Starting Corner

  • Jason McCourty - Backup Corner

  • J.C. Jackson - Starting Corner

  • Jonathan Jones - Slot/Third Corner

  • Joejuan Williams - Backup Corner/Safety

  • Myles Bryant - Backup/Special Teams

Breakdown: This is the deepest and most talented group of defensive backs in the NFL, so deep that the team's high 2nd round pick from the 2019 Draft could struggle to find playing time, barring injury. D'Angelo Ross could be a candidate to make the roster due to Kyle Dugger being banged up a bit, but if not, he's a legitimate practice squad candidate. Myles Bryant becomes the latest undrafted CB gem for Bill Belichick, joining Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson and old friend Malcolm Butler. He's made plays all camp long and matched up well with anyone put in front of him. The kid just has too much talent to not make the roster.

Special Teams (6)

  • Joe Cardona - Long Snapper

  • Matthew Slater - Gunner

  • Nick Folk - Kicker

  • Jake Bailey - Punter

  • Justin Bethel - Gunner

  • Michael Jackson - Gunner

Breakdown: Brandon King is on PUP, but if he's able to return to action soon, then Michael Jackson better hope that he's done enough to make a good impression. Now, while Jeff Thomas hasn't been healthy, that doesn't mean he can't make the team as a returner and make an impact in that fashion (J.J. Taylor could also do this). No more returning punts for Mo Sanu, please! Gunner might be too valuable at this point to run him out there, either, so a guy like Thomas or Taylor would make more sense. As for the kicker competition? Rohrwasser just hasn't been good at all. I think he'll be stashed on IR so that Nick Folk can have the job.

Practice Squad (16)

  • Jake Burt - TE

  • Dustin Woodard OL

  • Isaiah Zuber - WR

  • Justin Herron - OL

  • D'Angelo Ross - DB

  • Courtney Wallace - DL

  • Rashod Berry - TE

  • Cody Davis - DB

  • Jeff Thomas - WR

  • J.J. Taylor - RB

  • Michael Barnett - DT

  • Bill Murray - DT

  • Nick Coe - DE

  • Will Hastings - WR

  • Andre Baccellia - WR

  • Ben Braden - OL

There you have it, people! What do you think of this breakdown now that we've seen Training Camp play out? Where do you see any particular the hits or misses? Also, what are your expectations for the Patriots for the upcoming season if they were to trot out this group? Sound off in the comments and make sure to air all grievances with @FTFBrian on Twitter!

- Brian


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