With two preseason games in the books, the New England Patriots roster has started taking shape.
Now that Josh Gordon has been activated at the expense of fellow receiver Dontrelle Inman there’s a clearer picture painted at the skill positions. But the final roster is still up for debate, despite its exclusivity.
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Various questions remain unanswered, especially with the number of injuries suffered in recent weeks.
So who’s in and who’s out after the Patriots latest preseason game?
LAST PROJECTION: Patriots Roster Projection 2.0: Duke Dawson and Ryan Allen Out
Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
All three should still make the roster, but Stidham’s latest performance may have thrust him into the number-two role.
Running Back (5)
Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden
The first three are locks, and both Harris and Bolden showcased tremendous versatility in their preseason performance at Tennessee. Harris became a key part of the receiving game while Bolden looked good as a kick returner much like New England used Cordarelle Patterson last year.
Out: Nick Brossette hasn’t done well maximizing his yards per carry and misses out on a roster spot.
Full Back (1)
The veteran Develin hasn’t be dethroned and his role is one of the most important in the offense.
Out: Jakob Johnson will likely be added as an extra member of the practice squad given his international exemption.
Wide Receiver (7)
Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Braxton Berrios, Maurice Harris, Matthew Slater
PUP List: Cameron Meredith, Demaryius Thomas
It’s tough to keep so many receivers but the Patriots are absolutely loaded at the position. Edelman and Gordon are both currently on the NFI List, the latter having just been reinstated, while Harris and Harry are working back from a couple of minor injuries. All should be ready to go for the season opener. As for Berrios and Meyers, the latter is presumably safe while the former has a bit of work to do to edge out competitors for the final roster spot. Slater makes it as a gunner and special teamer.
Out: Phillip Dorsett is the latest and most notable cut from this go-around. He is dealing with a minor injury and with the emergence of Jakobi Meyers along with the arrival of Maurice Harris. Ryan Davis, Damoun Patterson, and Gunner Olszewski also miss the cut, though Olszewski could be a prime practice-squad candidate.
Tight End (2)
Matt LaCosse, Lance Kendricks,* Andrew Beck
Suspended: Ben Watson
Why three tight ends when it says two? Well, given LaCosse’s injury uncertainty, pencil in Kendricks as the guy to fill that spot at least until Watson returns from suspension or LaCosse is fully healthy. The other tight end, Beck, could line up as a full back or tight end and looked alright in a receiving role against the Titans.
Out: Kendricks would be out if LaCosse is ready to go while Ryan Izzo and Eric Saubert haven’t shown enough so far this preseason to warrant a roster spot. Stephen Anderson is also injured still and could head to the IR if the Patriots think he’s worth working with some more.
Offensive Line (8)
David Andrews, Isaiah Wynn, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Marcus Cannon, Dan Skipper, Ted Karras, Hjalte Froholdt
NFI List: Yodny Cajuste
The five starters from last year return and are expected to start again this season. As for the other two spots, Skipper has had a solid preseason so far and was getting starting reps before Wynn came back from injury, but his roster spot is far from secure. Karras is versatile on the interior and could even take over at center like he did when Andrews went down last season. As for Froholdt, the rookie was flagged twice against the Titans but only gave up one hurry and still makes the roster.
Out: James Ferentz headlines the cuts after he succumbed to pressure by allowing two hurries and a sack against Tennessee. Cole Croston, Cedrick Lang, Tyree St. Louis had a rough second preseason game while rookies Martez Ivey and Tyler Gauthier looked alright but with the position so deep it’s unlikely they’ll crack the roster.
Defensive Line (8)
Michael Bennett, Adam Butler, Deatrich Wise, Danny Shelton, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Lawrence Guy, Byron Cowart
The Patriots competition at the defensive end took an interesting turn this weekend when both Shilique Calhoun and Derek Rivers got hurt just a few plays apart and did not return to the game. The extent of both injuries is unknown but could be enough to keep them out of the running for a final roster spot, a bummer considering they both were having strong preseasons. In their place, Byron Cowart slides into the defensive line contest. The tackle has shocked many with his pass-rushing capabilities which may well have earned him a roster spot.
Out: Rivers is out for now, but that’s pending the extent of his injury. As is Calhoun, who keeps shifting from linebacker to edge rusher on a weekly basis. Veteran tackles David Parry, Mike Pennel, and Ufomba Kamalu are all on the chopping block as are edge rushers Nick Thurman, Keoita Davis, and Trent Harris though the latter played well on Saturday.
Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts, Ja’Whaun Bentley
Roberts enters the mix this week with the aforementioned injuries. Though given his absence from the first two preseason games you’d have to anticipate his roster spot being pretty secure.
Out: Calvin Munson played well against the Titans but he is just off the cusp. Terez Hall, Brandon King, and Christian Sam are also cut though one could make the practice squad.
Corner Back (6)
Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams, Keion Crossen, J.C. Jackson
The first five are pretty safe, especially after both Williams and Crossen both had strong nights in Nashville. As for Jackson, with Duke Dawson hot on his tail he’ll have to work especially hard to close out the preseason.
Out: Dawson is the first to go for now but is starting to improve incrementally as he closes in a roster spot. Ken Webster is also out but a practice-squad candidate for sure.
Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Terrence Brooks, Nate Ebner
With Ebner now activated from the PUP list, it appears he will be the final safety added to the roster. As for Brooks, he did have a PBU against the Titans but he is still fighting for his roster spot.
Out: Obi Melifonwu is the latest cut after a tough outing in Tennessee. Malik Gant and A.J. Howard are also out.
Special Teams (3)
Joe Cardona, Jake Bailey, Stephen Gostkowski
Bailey remains in the 53-man squad given his kickoff ability and his long punting prowess. Gostkowski continues to be shaky on long field goals and it may be time for the Patriots to begin looking into replacements. But who knows, maybe with Bailey kicking off it will help preserve Gostkowski.
Out: Ryan Allen is still sequestered out of the final roster but there’s still time to make up ground and him taking the majority of the punts in games has to be considered promising.
UPDATE: Ryan Allen was cut by the Patriots following the release of this projection.