My final shot at predicting what the Patriots final roster might look like:
QB (3): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
Thoughts: No changes, this group is as stable as they come.
RB (5): BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk (PUP)
Thoughts: No changes once again, as I have Sammy Morris sticking. I think Morris offers a lot to the team as a special teams player (up-back on kick returns and covering kicks) as well as an occasional HB/FB. The other four seem set in stone, with Faulk likely to land on PUP.
WR (6): Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Taylor Price, Julian Edelman, Matt Slater
Thoughts: Brandon Tate is left off here. Slater is a more rounded special teams player who has also made some flashes at receiver in the preseason. Food for thought: Could Deion Branch be a surprise release?
TE (3): Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Will Yeatman
Thoughts: Gronkowski and Hernandez are solidified at the top, while all indications are that rookie free agent Will Yeatman has beat out 5th round pick Lee Smith for the 3rd tight end spot.
OT (4): Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Steve Maneri
Thoughts: Once again, no changes here. Food for thought: Could the presence of Will Yeatman make a player such as Steve Maneri expendable (or vice versa?)
OG/C (5): Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Rich Ohrnberger
Thoughts: Ohrnberger is added here, although I'm a bit skeptical as to whether or not he could start any games should the Patriots need him to.
Defensive players after the jump!
DT/DE (6): Vince Wilfork, Albert Haynesworth, Mike Wright, Shaun Ellis, Kyle Love, Gerard Warren, Ron Brace (PUP), Brandon Deaderick (IR)
Thoughts: I slept on Gerard Warren at times throughout the preseason. He's performed well, and earns a spot over Myron Pryor. Landon Cohen and Darryl Richard are tough cuts as well. Once again, Brace and Deaderick stick around on reserve lists.
DE/LB (4): Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Andre Carter, Mark Anderson
Thoughts: This group stays the same. Rookie free agent Aaron Lavarias has impressed, and could land on the practice squad. The big cut here is Eric Moore. I had him off the roster after the second preseason game and I'm sticking to my prediction here. I think he's the 3rd best 3-4 OLB after Cunningham and Ninkovich, and I think Carter and Anderson represent better options as ends in 4-3 sets. Numbers crunch.
LB (5): Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher, Tracy White
Thoughts: Tracy White could be pushed off the roster by Jeff Tarpinian or Ricky Brown, but I think he's done enough to secure his spot. Brandon Spikes also recently returned to practice, so the stories of his demise were probably premature.
CB (5): Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler
Thoughts: Recent pick-up Antwaun Molden impressed against the Giants, but I don't know if it's enough for him to stick on the team's 53 man roster. Darius Butler was a bit up and down in the preseason, but looked like he was starting to build some confidence.
S (4): Pat Chung, Brandon Meriweather, Sergio Brown, James Ihedigbo
Thoughts: The big news this week was the news that the Patriots were letting go of veteran safety James Sanders. While the Patriots may be unhappy with the play of Brandon Meriweather, I think they will still hold on to him. The fourth safety spot likely will go down to James Ihedigbo and Josh Barrett. It's hard to say who will come out on top in that battle.
Specialists (3): Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, James Dearth