The New England Patriots had a very busy couple of days following their preseason finale against the Giants on Thursday. Friday, they announced the release of ten players. Today, the announced the release of 13 more and also placed veteran Adrian Wilson on injured reserve.
All of these moves have left the Patriots with a roster of 51. Now, they're more than likely to fill those final two spots in the next couple of days. So for now, lets do a quick breakdown of what the Patriots have at each position:
Quarterback (2): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett
Thoughts: This position is as settled as it could get with Tim Tebow gone. Perhaps the Patriots look to pick up a practice squad arm at some point.
Running Back (6): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Leon Washington, James Develin (FB)
Thoughts: Washington showed enough on Thursday to stick as a kick returner. The Patriots also kept a fullback in James Develin. This is a deep group, that could see a change or two as the season progresses.
Wide Receiver (5): Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Julian Edelman
Thoughts: Finally, a position that shook out how we all thought it would. This group is young, but oozing with potential.
Tight End (3): Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Zach Sudfeld
Thoughts: The Patriots could add a body here while Gronkowski recovers, but I think they're okay for now. Remember that James Develin had lined up as an h-back and could factor in here as well.
Offensive Line (8): Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer, Will Svitek, Marcus Cannon, Josh Kline
Thoughts: The Patriots opted with eight lineman, which seems to be the norm for them. The only question is whether or not Kline remains that 8th man or if the Patriots seek a veteran replacement for him.
Defensive End (4): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Michael Buchanan, Jake Bequette
Thoughts: It was a bit surprising to see Bequette stick on the final roster over veterans such as Justin Francis, Jermaine Cunningham, and Marcus Bernard. Hopefully it means the Patriots are pleased with his development. Michael Buchanan could be poised for a big role in 2013 despite his status as a 7th round pick. Wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots add a vet here.
Defensive Tackle (3): Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano
Thoughts: Perhaps the position most in need of another body, the Patriots would be in major trouble if either Wilfork or Kelly went down with injury. Expect the Patriots to add a veteran here. Perhaps the team also hopes that Armond Armstead can return from the NFI list midseason.
Linebacker (6): Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Jamie Collins, Steve Beauharnais, Dane Fletcher
Thoughts: Another group that turned out how most predicted. Steve Beauharnais and Dane Fletcher both stick, and should both be core special teams players. Jeff Tarpinian still could land on the practice squad.
Cornerback (5): Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Marquice Cole
Thoughts: The last position group that turned out as expected. Logan Ryan and Marquice Cole have both been pleasant surprises and make this group one of the team's deepest.
Safety (5): Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner
Thoughts: Adrian Wilson goes to injured reserve and Nate Ebner sticks. Didn't see this one coming. This could be a position where the Patriots look for a veteran. Adrian Wilson, at least before camp, was expected to be a big part of this defense.
Specialists (4): Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Danny Aiken, Matthew Slater
Thoughts: This group lost some swag as the big shake-up here is that Ryan Allen beat out Zoltan Mesko for the punter job. We all knew Allen was more than a camp leg, but I think most of us thought that Mesko still had the "leg up" on him. Sorry, had to.
What are your thoughts on how the Patriots roster looks to this point? Where would you like to see them go to address the final two openings on their roster?