This afternoon, the Patriots will be trimming their roster down to 53 players. That being said, here is my final attempt at predicting what the team's final roster will look like.
Quarterback (2): Tom Brady, #12; Brian Hoyer, #8
Nothing changes here. This position has remained constant throughout the offseason in my predictions.
Running Back (4): Laurence Maroney, #39; Fred Taylor, #21; Kevin Faulk, #33; Sammy Morris, #34
No changes here either. I think that despite his lack of playing time, that Laurence Maroney is safe, as there's no doubt in my mind that he's still the best every down back on the Patriots' roster (with Faulk being the best overall). The last spot comes down to Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. With Green-Ellis not being a major factor in the team's overall plans, I went with the more versatile and more productive overall player in Morris.
Wide Receiver (6): Randy Moss, #81; Wes Welker, #83; Brandon Tate, #19; Julian Edelman, #11; Sam Aiken, #88
The wide receiver position remains the same as well, as it seems that this position is pretty much solidified.
Tight End (3): Rob Gronkowski, #87; Aaron Hernandez, #85; Alge Crumpler, #82
No changes, but boy does Rob Gronkowski look good. The Patriots also have to hope that Hernandez' injury isn't too serious.
Offensive Tackle (4): Matt Light, #72; Sebastian Vollmer, #76; George Bussey, #66; Mark LeVoir, #64; Quinn Ojinaka, #68
Ojinaka doesn't count against the 53 as he is suspended the first week, so he should have a spot until then. LeVoir hasn't looked good this preseason, and Bussey hasn't been overly impressive, but both should have spots.
Interior Offensive Line (4): Dan Koppen, #67; Dan Connolly, #63; Stephen Neal, #61; Ryan Wendell, #69
The Patriots could keep Ohrnberger who started and played well last night. However, last night was his only bright spot in the preseason, so I think the Patriots move on with the more unheralded Ryan Wendell. Nick Kaczur could stick here, although he will probably land on IR. George Bussey and Quinn Ojinaka can slide into guard, so the team only keeps four on the interior line. Also in consideration is rookie Ted Larsen, although he didn't have a great preseason.
Defense after the jump!
Defensive Line (7): Vince Wilfork, #75; Gerard Warren, #68; Mike Wright, #99; Myron Pryor, #91; Ron Brace, #97; Brandon Deaderick, #71, Kyle Love, #74
No changes here, although the team officially cut Damione Lewis last night. I think Kyle Love has made a strong push for a roster spot, and I wouldn't be surprise to see him stick. Final Addition: After my final count, my roster was at 52, so I'm giving the final spot to rookie nose tackle Kyle Love.)
Outside Linebacker (6): Tully Banta-Cain, #95; Derrick Burgess, #53; Jermaine Cunningham, #96; Rob Ninkovich, #50; Marques Murrell, #93; Pierre Woods, #58
The Patriots experimented with Pierre Woods at 3-4 end against the Giants, and he surprisingly played alright. I thought Ninkovich sealed his spot with his performance Thursday. Marques Murrell could be cut, but I like what I've seen from him overall in the preseason. I have Pierre Woods and Eric Alexander battling it out for my final spot, and I went with Woods because he is a nice safety valve at outside linebacker.
Inside Linebacker (4): Jerod Mayo, #51; Brandon Spikes, #55; Gary Guyton, #59; Tyrone McKenzie, #44
I had five players at inside linebacker for the last few weeks, but I realized that 11 linebackers is probably one or two too many. Dane Fletcher will likely land on the practice squad. Eric Alexander is cut in a numbers crunch, as I keep Pierre Woods on my team.
Cornerback (5): Darius Butler, #28; Devin McCourty, #32; Jonathan Wilhite, #24; Terrence Wheatley, #22; Kyle Arrington, #27
The big change here is the loss of Leigh Bodden to injured reserve. With Bodden gone, the Patriots are young at the position, but it essentially guarantees Wheatley a roster spot. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots go after a veteran cornerback.
Safety (5): Brandon Meriweather, #31; Patrick Chung, #25; Brandon McGowan, #30; James Sanders, #36; Sergio Brown, #38
I finally gave Sergio Brown a spot on my roster. I think he could be a core special teams player for the Patriots, and he's always flying around the ball on defense. James Sanders could be traded, but for now, I think he sticks.
Specialists (3): Stephen Gostkowski, #3; Zoltan Mesko, #14; Jake Ingram, #46
No changes from last week.
Practice Squad (8):
1. Ted Larsen, C
2. Zac Robinson, QB
3. Darnell Jenkins, WR
4. Dane Fletcher, LB
5. Thomas Williams, LB
6. Thomas Clayton, RB
7. Rich Ohrnberger, G/C
8. Thomas Welch, OT