We now have seen two preseason games for the 2021 New England Patriots as we inch closer to the September 12th opener against Miami. A lot to unpack from the 35-0 shellacking of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2 of the preseason. Roster-wise, though, New England has to cut 5 more players prior to Tuesday to make the roster number 80. There are some changes from last week’s 53 man roster projection. Not a lot, but it will get harder come next week. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the second of my three Patriots 53 man roster projections.
Quarterbacks (2): Cam Newton, Mac Jones
Cuts: (IR) Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
No surprises here on the Patriots 53 man roster. Cam Newton looked fantastic against the Eagles. He looked the most comfortable he has since joining the Patriots last season. Looking poised in the pocket and ripping darts left and right, Newton impressed big time, leaving me to believe he will be the Week 1 starter.
As for the Rookie, Mac Jones did not miss a beat. Even after Cam Newton put on a show the rookie signal-caller was not phased one bit and put on a show himself. He even showed off his arm on a couple of deep passes. I still think Mac will be the backup for now, but I would not be shocked if the choice comes down to the wire.
As for Hoyer, I kept him on the roster last week. But, it only gets more difficult from here. Whether it is a trade or he gets cut, I think New England will now go into Week 1 with two Quarterbacks.
Running Backs (4): Damien Harris, James White, Rhamondre Stevenson, JJ Taylor
Cuts: Brandon, Bolden, Sony Michel (Trade)
Man oh man, this one was tough for the Patriots 53 man roster. New England has one of the deepest Running back rooms I have seen in a while. You obviously can’t keep them all, as nice as that would be. Once again, Damien Harris has cemented his spot as the lead back, with James White your 3rd down/pass-catching back. Rhamondre Stevenson, minus the fumble late in the game last week, once again showed that he is capable of a role on this team. JJ Taylor has also proved he deserves a role of some sort on this team–possibly the Rex Burkhead role?
That leaves Sony Michel as the odd man out. Michel has not been terrible this preseason, and he has shown signs of life with his pass-catching ability. The way I see it, though, is the Georgia product is in the final year of his contract. The way New England seems to run things, they would rather get something out of him than let him walk next year. This is why I think with such a deep RB room this year, Michel is the odd man out and would benefit from a change of scenery.
Wide Receivers (5): Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers. Gunner Olszewski, Matthew Slater
Cuts: Kristian Wilkerson, Isaiah Zuber, Tre Nixon, Marvin Hall, Devin Ross, N’Keal Harry (Trade)
Nothing changes here. Other than the fact that the N’Keal Harry injury puts a damper on the trade request. I still think Harry will not be on the roster in Week 1. His departure will come via trade. It’s just a matter of when it will come.
As for Wilkerson, I had high hopes for this kid, but the dropped passes are a big issue. I think he will make an appearance on the practice squad by the end of it.
Tight Ends/Fullback (4): Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Devin Asiasi, Jakob Johnson
Cuts: Matt LaCosse, Troy Fumagalli, David Wells, IR: Dalton Keene
Same scenario here. No changes. Asiasi is looking better than last year, and Jakob Johnson obviously has the fullback locked up. That leaves LaCosse as the odd man out with Fumagalli already cut. This is probably the easiest position to call.
Offensive Line (8): Isaiah Wynn, Michael Onwenu, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Trent Brown, Ted Karras, Justin Herron, James Ferentz
Cuts: Will Sherman, Korey Cunningham, Yodny Cajuste, Marcus Martin, Alex Redmond, R.J. Prince
The offensive line looked solid as hell Thursday against the Eagles, making it one of the most exciting positions to watch this season.
Justin Herron solidified his spot on the team thanks to his ability to become a jumbo tight end and his ability to block.
I will add Ferentz back into the mix here–he has looked solid and could make for a good backup barring a disastrous injury.
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
A lot to like here for the defense. The front seven has looked superb. The biggest surprise from last Thursday was Carl Davis, who cemented his role on the team with a stellar performance. The Defensive Tackle will look to be a backup to Godchaux and Guy.
Barmore will play a big role on this team. The second-round pick has looked fantastic through 2 weeks.
Everything stays the same here for the front 7. Nothing different cut-wise.
Edge Rushers/Outside Linebackers (6): Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Josh Uche, Chase Winovich, Ronnie Perkins, Brandon King
Cuts: Tashawn Bower
Matt Judon is an absolute freak of nature. The dude has been all over the place in the first two games of the preseason. He seems like an absolute steal in free agency by Bill Belichick. Thus far, it also seems surprising that the Ravens let him walk.
Chase Winovich is the one I want to focus on here. This is a very deep Edge/Linebacker class. Winovich is towards the end of that depth chart, and it will be hard to climb back up. The good news is he made his return Thursday off the PUP list. The bad news is, his first time on the field he got a roughing penalty, and that is the biggest issue with Winovich. He is sort of a rogue player on defense.
More good news is Winovich saw a lot of time on special teams and kick-offs. This shows us that he is expanding his role to stay on this team. With such a deep linebacking and edge corp, Winovich needs to be able to expand his ability to the special teams to be able to see the field more.
I think Winovich will be a big part of the team this year one way or another.
Inside Linebacker (3): Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Harvey Langi
Cuts: Anfernee Jennings
(IR) Raekwon McMillan, (IR) Cam McGrone, PUP: Terez Hall,
Jennings is a new addition to this list. He has been up and down this preseason. With the resurgence of Harvey Langi, Jennings is the odd-man-out. The versatility of Langi just pops off the sheet more than Jennings, with the way New England looks to be going. Jennings looks to be on the outside looking in, with a possible spot on the Practice Squad waiting for him.
Cornerbacks (7): Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jalen Mills, Justin Bethel, Joejuan Williams, Dee Virgin.
Cuts: Michael Jackson Sr., D’Angelo Ross,
With Sony Michel now off the roster, the leaves a spot open on special teams. Let’s give that spot to a man who has been playing a lot of special teams lately: Dee Virgin. Virgin, who I had as a cut last week, makes the roster in the 2nd version. Even if it is just as a specialist, Dee Virgin could play a good part on special teams for New England.
Safeties (5): Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Myles Bryant, Cody Davis
Cuts: Adrian Colbert, NFI: Joshuah Bledsoe
Safeties stay the same. No movement here. Everyone looks good and rearing to go for the 2021 season.
Specialists (3): Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona, Quinn Nordin
Cuts: (IR) Nick Folk, Brian Khoury.
The kicking job is still up for grabs. Nordin struggled in Week 2 of the Preseason, missing two extra points and a field goal. Not what you want to see. Especially since your veteran kicker, Nick Folk, is still struggling with an injury.
This stands to be the most interesting position battle next to the quarterbacks. I would not be surprised if New England picks up a kicker off waivers. Or, they could trade for someone like Ryan Santoso from the Giants. Regardless, Nordin needs to bounce back from his tough Week 2, and I think he will. So, for right now, I still think that Nordin wins the job.
Final Thoughts on the Second Patriots 53 Man Roster Reset
Week 3 will most likely be the chance for players on the bubble to make their case. With starters likely playing limited time next Sunday against the Giants in their final preseason game, it will be the time for these players who are up in the air to show what they got.
Stay Tuned next Monday for my final roster reset where I will give my final prediction of who will be on the Patriots 53 man roster for the opener on September 12th.
-Jeff Hoak (@JeffHoak1 on Twitter)
Featured Photo: Bleacher Report (bleacherreport.com)
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