Patriots Finalize Initial 53-Man Roster
The Patriots, along with every other team in the league, cut their rosters down Saturday and now have their initial 53-man roster set.
Let's take a look at how the roster looks, compared to our projected picks:
Quarterback (2) Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo
Note: We start off the roster with a surprise, as the Pats decided to deal second-year quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts on cut down day. The decision obviously goes against my thought process that the team would keep all three quarterbacks, which was based more on the fact that they invested a third round pick in Brissett prior to last season. You don't typically draft players in the third round that you don't think could contribute to your team, in some way, for years to come. That also leads me to believe that trading Brissett was do more to the fact that the team was thin at multiple positions and needed to acquire depth elsewhere, so the dealt from an area of strength. Simply put, the NC State product would probably still be in town, if the Pats hadn't suffered some injuries to contributors this preseason.
Running Back (4) Mike Gillislee, James White, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead
Note: The four still here were always locks, but what is somewhat surprising is that core special teamer and last resort back Brandon Bolden was released. Bolden had spent his entire career with the Pats and could potentially return, especially if there are injuries to the backs on the roster. D.J. Foster was also released, though our projection had him making the team as a dual threat back and receiver.
Fullback (1) James Develin
Note: A no brainer, as Develin adds depth as a blocker and special teamer.
Wide Receiver (6) Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett, Matthew Slater
Note: While the first four were roster locks, the addition of Dorsett was a bit of a shock. While he'll probably play a limited role offensively, he is likely to replace the injured Cyrus Jones and take over as the team's primary kick and punt returner.
Tight End (3) Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister
Note: While Gronkowski and Allen have been pegged as the team's top two options since before camps started, Hollister was a true dark horse entering the summer. Though he wasn't given much chance by the media and fans, he continued to make solid plays week after week and proved to be a steady set of hands catching the ball.
Offensive Line (8) Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, David Andrews, Cameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle, Cole Croston
Note: The big cut here might be the surprise decision of the day, as second year lineman Ted Karras was part of the group waived Saturday. Karras was considered the top backup lineman on the interior and was the team's only backup to center David Andrews. While Karras impressed as a fill in multiple times last season, the 2016 sixth round pick was let go in favor of undrafted rookie Cole Croston, who can play guard and tackle.
Defensive Line (9) Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Vincent Valentine, Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise Jr., Cassius Marsh, Harvey Langi
Note: One of the best stories of camp was the emergence of undrafted rookie Adam Butler, who's solid play forced the team to keep him along an already deep interior line. The team made another cut day deal to bring in Marsh to add depth to the thin edge rush corps.
Linebacker (7) Dont'a Hightower, David Harris, Kyle Van Noy, Shea McClellin, Elandon Roberts, Marquis Flowers, Brandon King
Note: Flowers, who was acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals early last week, and King will play primarily on special teams. Though McClellin hasn't participated in team activities most of the offseason, he found his way onto the roster. That means the team must expect that the veteran is on his way back to returning to action.
Cornerback (5) Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Johnson Bademosi
Note: Bademosi was another player brough in on a cut day trade. He'll fill the final cornerback spot that would have went to Cyrus Jones and will also contribute on special teams.
Safety (5) Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner, Jordan Richards
Note: Richards was a surprising stick on the roster, as he has yet to materialize into anything other than a special teams player.
Specialists (3) Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona
Note: No surprises here.