Projecting a Patriots 53 Man Roster: Version 2.0

My second attempt at projecting what the Patriots 53 man roster may look like:

QB (3): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett

Thoughts: No changes from last time, as this group will likely be as-is come the regular season.

RB (5): BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk (PUP)

Thoughts: No changes here.  Sammy Morris could replace Shane Vereen if Vereen's injury is serious enough to land him on injured reserve.

LAST IN: SAMMY MORRIS - Morris gets the final spot due to his veteran presence and his role on special teams.  He also still sees time as a fullback.  He's not flashy, but he is a veteran who Bill Belichick trusts and respects enough to give him a roster spot.

WR (6): Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, Taylor Price, Julian Edelman, Matt Slater, Brandon Tate (IR)

Thoughts: Brandon Tate hasn't practiced since the first week of camp, and it looks like his injury could be serious.  I don't think the Patriots will straight-up release Tate, but a trip to injured reserve wouldn't surprise me the least.

TE (3): Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Will Yeatman

Thoughts: The change here is swapping Will Yeatman for Lee Smith.  When attending training camp, I felt that Lee Smith looked tremendous, and was seriously outplaying Yeatman.  However, over the last week, it looks as if Yeatman has passed Smith on the depth chart.

OT (4): Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Steve Maneri

Thoughts: Steve Maneri replaces Mark LeVoir, who was released last week.  Maneri has looked solid enough in the preseason to warrant keeping around.

OG/C (4): Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Marcus Cannon (PUP)

Thoughts: Again, there are no changes here as I still don't have Rich Ohrnberger making the roster.  I think that Bill Belichick is comfortable with having just eight lineman on the roster, as he has done in the past.  However, if Belichick keeps a 9th, Ohrnberger could be that player.

The defensive side of the ball after the jump!

 DT/DE (6): Vince Wilfork, Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Mike Wright, Ron Brace (PUP), Brandon Deaderick (IR)

Thoughts: Same group as last week.  I have Wright sticking, although he could land on injured reserve.  Brace and Deaderick hang around on reserve lists.  Darryl Richard, Landon Cohen, Gerard Warren, and Kade Weston all have a chance to make the roster.

DE/LB (4): Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Andre Carter, Mark Anderson

Thoughts: My big surprise cut here is Eric Moore.  Remember 2010, when Marques Murrell started the entire preseason at outside linebacker then was promptly released before the start of the season?  I like Eric Moore, but with Jermaine Cunningham slated to be the top left ends on 1st and 2nd down, and my personal belief that Andre Carter will stick as the starting right end, I'm not sure if there's a defined role for Moore on the roster.

LB (5): Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Dane Fletcher, Tracy White

Thoughts: No changes from last week.  Hopefully, Spikes and Fletcher get back on the field soon.

CB (5): Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Jonathan Wilhite

Thoughts: In this projection, I'm swapping Wilhite for Darius Butler.  Last week, Wilhite was my last out.  This week, I have him making the squad.  Darius Butler has gotten plenty of snaps in the first two preseason games, and I'm sure the coaching staff is taking a long, hard look at what he has to offer the team.  Wilhite has looked generally solid and played well as the slot cornerback in 2010.  That could give him the slight edge, even if it is to the moans and groans of many Patriots fans.

S (5): Pat Chung, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Sergio Brown, James Ihedigbo

Thoughts: I believe Bret Lockett had a chance to stick as a special teams player before he went down with injury against the Bucs.  To replace him, the team signed former Jet James Ihedigbo.  Ihedigbo isn't a lock to make the roster, but I think his special teams prowess gives him a chance.  If the team keeps a fifth safety, the spot could also go to Josh Barrett.

Specialists (3): Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Matt Katula

Thoughts: Chris Koepplin has a chance to stick as a kickoff specialist, although he may just be handling kickoff duties to keep Gostkowski's leg fresh.  Matt Katula has looked shaky, and could be replaced if he doesn't settle down.

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