With the first out of three preseason games out of the way, we are officially in cutdown mode. The first of three roster cut sessions must be done by Tuesday, August 17th at 4 pm. This is when teams must go from an 85 man roster to an 80 man roster. This will be the easiest out of the three roster cuts, as the number gets bigger as the cut gets down to the Patriots 53 man roster.
So without further ado, let’s see dive into the first of my three 53 man roster projections.
Quarterbacks (3): Cam Newton, Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer
Cuts: (IR) Jarrett Stidham
I am still standing firmly on the fact that Cam Newton will be the Week 1 starter. Mac Jones looked good in his first preseason game, but obviously has some work to do. That being said, I am not ruling out a change as Mac Jones can still impress with 2 games left.
As for the third quarterback, I think Brian Hoyer sticks with the team, he is a valuable asset and a good mentor for the rookie. Plus it gives you a somewhat viable backup that knows the system if the Patriots would fall into another COVID situation.
Running Backs (5): Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White, Rhamondre Stevenson, JJ Taylor
Cuts: Brandon Bolden
One of the more interesting positions in this year’s roster is the Running Back, Damien Harris appears to have already locked up the starting running back role, but after that is a mixed bag. Sony Michel looked much more comfortable and is a great candidate to be that backup to Harris. James White is obviously James White and will play his normal third-down role. JJ. Taylor is an intriguing back who impressed and could easily carve a role on special teams. Then of course the rookie Rhamondre Stevenson who turned heads in his NFL debut on Thursday, busting out a 91-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the game. If he keeps it up, could make for a big shuffle in the running back room.
That leaves Brandon Bolden as the odd man out here. I love Bolden, but the way I look at it is that he is strict special teams, and right now, I do not think JJ. Taylor would be on the practice squad for very long if he was to be cut.
Wide Receivers (5): Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers. Gunner Olszewski, Matthew Slater
Cuts: Kristian Wilkerson, Isaiah Zuber, Tre Nixon, Marvin Hall, Devin Ross
The biggest name not on this list is N’Keal Harry. Harry played almost every offensive snap on Thursday against the Washington Football Team and only saw one touch for four yards. Harry who has “apparently” impressed in camp, did not impress one bit in the first preseason game, and I think the New England Patriots will find some team to pawn the struggling receiver on.
Tight Ends/Fullback (4): Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Devin Asiasi, Jakob Johnson
Cuts: Matt LaCosse, Troy Fumagalli, David Wells, IR: Dalton Keene
This one seems clear-cut. With Dalton Keene done for the season, it makes the Tight End room a little clearer, and of course, Jakob Johnson will be your Fullback after an impressive 2020 campaign.
Offensive Line (7): Isaiah Wynn, Michael Onwenu, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Trent Brown, Ted Karras, Justin Herron
Cuts: Will Sherman, Korey Cunningham, Yodny Cajuste, Marcus Martin, James Ferentz, Alex Redmond, R.J. Prince
The New England Patriots are looking at what could be one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Beefing it up with bringing back Trent Brown, the emergence of 2nd-year tackle, Michael Onwenu and the return of the anchor, David Andrews. This offensive line if it can stay healthy will be fantastic to protect QB, Cam Newton.
Two cuts that are interesting are Yodny Cajuste, who played his NFL first action since being out since 2019 with injuries. He did not look terrible in his first game, but with how deep the OL group is this year, it is hard to justify keeping him on the 53 man roster.
As for James Ferentz, who saw quite a bit of playing time last season with David Andrews being out, I cannot justify him being on the final roster either, especially with the return of Center, Ted Karras, who figures to slide into the backup center role.
Defensive Line (6): Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, Deatrich Wise, Henry Anderson, Christian Barmore, Carl Davis
Cuts: Montravius Adams, Akeem Spence, Nick Thurman, Bill Murray, PUP: Byron Cowart
One of the strongest defenses fans have seen in a couple of years, we will kick it off with the D-Line. Just like tight ends, it is pretty straightforward. With second-round rookie, Christian Barmore headlining. Along with free-agent signing, Davon Godcahux looks to fill in the long-lost roll of what was Vince Wilfork’s, run-stuffing nose tackle. The front line of the defense looks to make some big noise this season.
Edge Rushers/Outside Linebackers (5): Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Josh Uche, Chase Winovich, Ronnie Perkins
Cuts: Rashod Berry, Tashawn Bower
Matt Judon looked scary good in his first game with the Patriots. Uche looked good as well, this Outside Linebacker group looks lethal.
Tashawn Bower, who had a great first preseason game is one who does not make the roster, as the group is just too deep. Patriots will hope to keep him on the practice squad.
Inside Linebacker (4): Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings, Harvey Langi
Cuts: (IR) Raekwon McMillan, (IR) Cam McGrone, PUP: Terez Hall
There is no understatement when I say how huge the return of Dont’a Hightower is for this Linebacking corp. His veteran presence will be huge for this young group. Especially to up and comer, Ja’Whaun Bentley, who is looking to come back better than ever after an up and down 2020 campaign.
The biggest loss to the Patriots 53 man roster is Raekwon McMillan who tore his ACL in practice just recently. A player who had impressed much in camp was looking to make an impact on the roster but will look to reset next season.
Cornerbacks (6): Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jalen Mills, Justin Bethel, Joejuan Williams
Cuts: Dee Virgin, Michael Jackson Sr., D’Angelo Ross,
Pretty straightforward here, Gilmore will return, and I think will come to a contract resolution with the team. JC Jackson who balled out last season will look to keep it up this season. Then newcomer Jalen Mills will look to fill in the slot corner role for what should be yet again a lethal secondary.
Safeties (5): Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Myles Bryant, Cody Davis
Cuts: Adrian Colbert, NFI: Joshuah Bledsoe
Patrick Chung’s retirement puts Kyle Dugger front and center for this season, where he will look to capitalize off a fantastic rookie year alongside veteran safety, Devin McCourty.
Specialists (3): Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona, Quinn Nordin
Cuts: Nick Folk, Brian Khoury, Brandon King
A legit competition in camp we are looking at is Nick Folk vs. Quinn Nordin. In this roster reset though, I have Quinn Nordin, the undrafted rookie winning the job. Nick Folk is dealing with an injury right now, and Nordin has stepped up in his role and has taken over. Outside of the XP, miss on Thursday, Nordin has proved he has the leg and the confidence to take on this starting job.
All in all no real surprises in my first roster projection of the preseason, but of course that will change as we get closer to the real Patriots 53 man roster cut down, and we see more players impressing while fighting for a spot.
One group to look closely at, outside of the Quarterback situation, is of course that of the running backs, and if Rhamondre Stevenson can keep up his success as he aims for a more prominent role. Then, of course, the kicker competition will be one to keep an eye on, as Quinn Nordin looks to lock that up very soon.
Stay tuned next Sunday for my second of three Patriots 53 Man roster projections!!
-Jeff Hoak (@jeffhoak1)
Featured Image: The Boston Globe
Use the Promo code “couchguy20” or “LLP” at Manscaped.com. Grab some of the best tools in men’s below the belt grooming. Furthermore, using the code you’ll get 20% off of your order AND free shipping. Help out the site and help out yourself by buying some products from Manscaped TODAY.
Tired of soreness and pain slowing you and your workouts down? Change that. Melt stress away anytime, anywhere with the ExoGun. Designed to give you the ultimate recovery utilizing percussive therapy and deep tissue massage, it will change your recovery life FOREVER. Follow this link (Exogun) for 10% off or use code promo code CGS10 at checkout!