One of the things I like to do, shortly after the draft, is project a Patriots 53 man roster/depth chart. I'll let you know, it's near impossible. After all, the Patriots will probably add a few more veteran players, and we haven't even begun mini-camps. It's still April! Nonetheless, it's still a fun thing to do. So go ahead, read my roster/depth chart, critique me, tell me what you would change. I'll even throw in an 8-man practice squad for kicks.
Quick note: You'll find Derrick Burgess on my 53 man roster. I think that the Patriots will bring him back on a one or two year deal.
Quarterback: 1. Tom Brady | 2. Brian Hoyer
Runningback: 1. Laurence Maroney | 2. Kevin Faulk | 3. Sammy Morris | 4. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Wide Receiver: 1. Randy Moss | 2. Julian Edelman | 3. Brandon Tate | 4. Torry Holt | 5. Taylor Price | 6. Sam Aiken
Tight End: 1. Rob Gronkowski | 2. Alge Crumpler | 3. Aaron Hernandez
Offensive Tackle: 1. Matt Light | 2. Sebastian Vollmer | 3. Nick Kaczur | 4. Mark LeVoir
Offensive Guard: 1. Logan Mankins | 2. Stephen Neal | 3. Dan Connolly | 4. Rich Ohrnberger
Center: 1. Dan Koppen | 2. Ted Larsen
Defense and specialists after the jump!
Nose Tackle: 1. Vince Wilfork | 2. Myron Pryor | 3. Ron Brace
Defensive End: 1. Ty Warren | 2. Mike Wright | 3. Gerard Warren | 4. Damione Lewis | 5. Brandon Deaderick
Outside Linebacker: 1. Tully Banta-Cain | 2. Derrick Burgess | 3. Jermaine Cunningham | 4. Rob Ninkovich
Inside Linebacker: 1. Jerod Mayo | 2. Brandon Spikes | 3. Gary Guyton | 4. Tyrone McKenzie
Cornerback: 1. Leigh Bodden | 2. Darius Butler | 3. Devin McCourty | 4. Jonathan Wilhite | 5. Shawn Springs
Safety: 1. Brandon Meriweather | 2. James Sanders | 3. Patrick Chung | 4. Brandon McGowan
Kicker: 1. Stephen Gostkowski
Punter: 1. Zoltan Mesko
Long Snapper: 1. Jake Ingram
1. Kade Weston, DT
2. Shawn Crable, OLB
3. Zac Robinson, QB
4. Dane Fletcher, OLB
5. Darryl Richard, DE
6. Thomas Welch, OT
7. Pat Paschall, RB
8. Bryan Anderson, WR
- Wes Welker is not on roster, as I believe that he will be placed on PUP to start the season, therefore not counting against the 53 man roster.
- Some tough cuts: Fred Taylor, Matt Slater, Kyle Arrington, Eric Alexander, Pierre Woods, David Patten, Terrence Wheatley.
- On the list of tough cuts, you probably noticed a lot of key special teams players. However, I believe that the Patriots have brought in a lot of young players over the last two years that can fill those roles. Kyle Arrington was terrific last season, but Devin McCourty is a terrific special teams player. Matt Slater is being replaced by Taylor Price/Brandon Tate. Eric Alexander by Tyrone McKenzie. Pierre Woods by Rob Ninkovich/Jermaine Cunningham.
- A few other places I could see a cut include defensive line (Warren, Lewis, possibly even Brace), offensive line (Ohrnberger, LeVoir, Connolly, Larsen [ps], and possibly even Kaczur), and wide receiver (Holt, Aiken).
- As for the release of Fred Taylor, it was a tough one. Laurence Maroney is young and cheap, and will probably be the starter again in 2010, he also adds kick return value. Kevin Faulk is the jack of all trades, he's not going anywhere. Sammy Morris could be a casualty, but adds value as a fullback. BenJarvus Green-Ellis brings youth to the group, and can also line up at fullback and play on special teams. Then it came down to Taylor, who could certainly help the team as a runner and with his veteran experience, but I needed to cut down one more, and Taylor, at this point in his career, seemed the least versatile. Plus, I needed to add some juice to this article, didn't I?
- Overall, just remember this is a guess at this point. We haven't even seen a large chunk of these guys take the field for the Patriots. What will be interesting is to see how this roster looks once we know the actual 53 man roster late August/early September.