After the first preseason game for the New England Patriots
, final roster decisions haven’t gotten any easier. The entire defense shined while some offensive bubble players made a major impact.
It’ll be interesting to see how it all shapes up come the end of August, with plenty of time to still make an impression.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
There were some surprises from the preseason opener, as very few starters played on either side of the ball. Rookie running back Damien Harris was one surprise scratch while Jakobi Meyers made sure to make a strong statement about his roster status.
On defense, a few pass rushers made some noise and the secondary competition took a new turn. Here’s how the roster looks now.
Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
No surprises here. Stidham and Hoyer both impressed, the main question they’ll need to answer is who gets the immediate backup role?
Out – none.
Running Back (5)
Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden
Of the group above, only Bolden saw action in the preseason opener. Harris being sidelined must mean his roster spot is pretty safe while Burkhead and Michel are both working back from injuries. As for White, he is the most unique out of the five with his receiving ability and short-down yardage skills.
Out – Nick Brossette still hasn’t done enough to prove he belongs and his 66 yards on 22 carries isn’t much of a positive.
Full Back (1)
His work load may be lightened a bit this year (stay tuned) but it’s tough to ignore the value he possesses in the backfield. He might not be a runner like Mike Alstott, but Develin could be one of the best blocking full backs of all time.
Out – Jakob Johnson likely won’t unseat Develin but he’s a good camp guy. Given his international status and ability to be an additional member of the practice squad, that appears to be his likely destination.
Wide Receiver (7)
Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Maurice Harris, Braxton Berrios, Matthew Slater, Phillip Dorsett
Suspended: Josh Gordon | Injured Reserve: Demaryius Thomas, Cameron Meredith
When it comes to picking between Berrios and Phillip Dorsett, consider this – Dorsett carries a $2.6 million cap hit while Berrios only has $29,602. Berrios’ value increases given his versatility in returning kicks and punts while he can be the understudy to Edelman in the slot. Both could make the team in place of an extra tight end, but the first four weeks would be an extended audition. Harris and Meyers impressed in the preseason opener, but Harris may have some issues with drops.
Out – Ryan Davis, Danny Etling, Gunner Olszewski, and Damoun Patterson while veteran Dontrelle Inman may be used in a trade prior to the end of the preseason. Cameron Meredith may be a candidate for the IR with an option of being activated down the road, much like Demaryius Thomas.
Tight End (2)
Matt LaCosse, Andrew Beck
Suspended: Ben Watson
New England can get away with only two tight ends in the opening month thanks to N’Keal Harry’s red zone contribution and James Develin’s blocking. Beck lined up as a full back in the preseason opener which could help Develin’s longevity. LaCosse, meanwhile, went down injured with what looked like a lower leg injury that could hamper his preseason production moving forward. Watson, upon his return, will likely takeover starting duties.
Out – Stephen Anderson is left off for now but in a spot where he could easily regain his roster status. Ryan Izzo didn’t impress and Lance Kendricks is dealing with an injury that may require a trip to the IR.
Offensive Line (8)
David Andrews, Marcus Cannon, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn, Dan Skipper, Ted Karras, Hjalte Froholdt
Injured Reserve: Yodny Cajuste
No changes from the previous projection. Skipper looks to be cementing his roster spot while Wynn is inching closer to recovering from injury. Karras and Froholdt are versatile options but are closest to dropping out of contention.
Out – James Ferentz headlines the group of cuts that also includes Cedrick Lang, Tyler Gauthier, Tyree St. Louis, and Martez Ivey.
Defensive Line (8)
Michael Bennett, Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy, Derek Rivers, Danny Shelton, John Simon, Deatrich Wise, Chase Winovich.
Competition is stiff on the D-line, with Derek Rivers etching his name onto the roster thanks to an impressive performance against Detroit. Still work to be done on his part but his status is looking safer by the day.
Out – Veterans Mike Pennel and David Parry are left out this week along with Ufomba Kamalu and Keointa Davis. Fifth-round pick Byron Cowart is fading fast but is a practice squad candidate. Trent Harris and Nick Thurman round out the cuts.
Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Shilique Calhoun
Calhoun looked good in the pass rush and could be used on special teams in a similar capacity to Brandon King. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, he gets around well having run a 4.8 second 40-yard dash at the combine a few years back.
Out – King is a bit undersized for the position and a tough player to dedicate a roster spot to with a gunner like Matthew Slater already occupying an extra special teams’ slot. Elandon Roberts still hasn’t broken through either, though his easiest path would be to unseat Calhoun or Bentley. Calvin Munson, Christian Sam, and Terez Hall are also gone though one could definitely be signed to the practice squad.
Corner Back (6)
Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, JC Jackson, Keion Crossen, Joejuan Williams
Injured Reserve: Ken Webster
No changes here just yet. Joejuan Williams looks a little more raw than originally thought but he’s definitely a guy to mold into a strong coverage corner. Crossen and Jackson broke up a few passes against the Lions.
Out – Duke Dawson is still on the outside looking in after a forgettable effort against Detroit. D’Angelo Ross is a long shot while Ken Webster remains injured.
Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Terrence Brooks, Obi Melifonwu
Injured Reserve:Nate Ebner
The local boy Melifonwu makes the latest roster cut after an adequate performance to start the preseason. His special-teams ability combined with his size and speed give him a bit more of an edge over some of the rookies. Terrence Brooks still isn’t guaranteed his spot though he played well enough in coverage to maintain his status.
Out – Malik Gant moves out considering he didn’t see many snaps on Thursday. A.J. Howard is also still a cut, though he might make a late move given his special-teams ability. Nate Ebner may be headed to the IR.
Special Teams (3)
Stephen Gostkowski, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona
Bailey’s spot continues to look guaranteed. Though he only punted once against Detroit, he handled the kickoff duties in place of Gostkowski and may be a dark-horse candidate for kicker this season.
Out – Ryan Allen is still cut as of now, especially after a late punt shanked out of bounds for only 28 yards.
READ NEXT: READ NEXT: Is This Tom Brady’s Final Season With the Patriots? [WATCH]