Editors Note: Yesterday, Greg Knopping tackled how he believes the outlook of the Patriots' 53-Man Roster would be, if cuts were made today. Here is my version of what I believe Bill Belichick would do if he had to trim his roster almost in half. Hope you enjoy! -Jared S.
Quarterback (3): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
Thoughts: I see the quarterback outlook looking identical to last years with two backups for Tom Brady. Hoyer, the veteran more experienced guy; Mallett, the possible future replacement.
Running Back (4): Stevan Ridley, Joseph Addai, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen
Thoughts: This is where I deviate a little bit with Greg. When the Patriots signed Addai, I believe that they had every intention of using him in this offense. He's coming off injury, and could have tremendous upside here. I believe Belichick uses Ridley and Addai as the primary backs, with Woodhead a threat off the bench and Vereen still in training. Eric Kettani and Brandon Bolden both make the practice squad. You can never have to much depth.
Fullback (1): Tony Fiammetta
Thoughts: This was one of the harder decisions I made here, believe it or not. I'm giving Fiammetta the edge here, just because he has more to offer at the position than Spencer Larson does. He spent all of last year paving the way for rookie breakout DeMarco Murray in Dallas. With the Patriots utilizing Lousaka Polite in the later stages of the season, it seems that they are more open to the idea of a fullback.
Wide Receiver (7): Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Donte Stallworth, Matthew Slater, Julian Edelman
Thoughts: Chad Ochocinco is Ochogono is my opinion. I believe the Patriots bringing in all of these receivers meant that they've moved on from him, but they will do the decent thing and give him a chance in camp. Like Greg, I see the final battle is between he and Stallworth. I just like Stallworth's deep threat potential in a familiar Josh McDaniels system gives him the edge over Ocho. Slater is a permanent special teams guy, and Edelman is used on returns.
Tight End (3): Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells
Thoughts: I believe the Patriots signing Fells for three seasons means that there will likely be a third tight end on the roster. Fells is a superior blocker who can also catch some timely passes for you. In essence, he's Alge Crumpler 2.0. Don't see either part of the dynamic pro-bowl tight end duo not making the team.
Offensive Tackle (4): Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Robert Gallery
Thoughts: Sebass and Solder is the locked in starters, no matter how much Dante Scarnecchia wants to play with our minds. Cannon, a second year player continues to develop and form into that third tackle that Solder was used as last year. I have Gallery making it because he can play all over the line, and they may need the depth if Vollmer's back problems surface again.
Interior Line (5): Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Brian Waters, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell
Thoughts: Once again, we all know who that starters out of this group are going to be, it's just how much depth they need behind them. I love Dan Connolly, because he has experience all over the interior line. I also believe Wendell is sure bet, being third year player as Koppen's understudy.
Check out the predictions for Defense and Special Teams, after the jump!
Defensive Tackle/End (5): Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Jonathan Fanene, Brandon Deaderick, Gerard Warren
Thoughts: This is an area where the Patriots have lots and lots of options. I'll agree with Greg and say that the two underachieving veterans in Brace and Pryor are the two big cuts. They've both struggled to stay healthy and have seen little to no playing time in the last few years. The question here was Warren, and he's easily outperformed both during his two years in New England.
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker (4): Rob Ninkovich, Andre Carter (starts on PUP), Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, Trevor Scott
Thoughts: This is another area where there will be key cuts that will have to be made. Like many others here at the Pulpit, I really love Trevor Scott as the free agent acquisition. With Belichick drafting the edge rushers in Jones and Bequette, they seem to make it harder for guys like Jermaine Cunningham and Markell Carter to make the roster. Also, I see the Patriots making one more move this offseason, bringing back Andre Carter and using him when he comes back from injury.
Linebacker (4): Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont'a Hightower, Dane Fletcher
Thoughts: With the Patriots having a lot of options at OLB, I believe they go only four deep here. Mayo, Spikes and Hightower are in on the 4-3 with Fletcher providing depth. Jeff Tarpinian, Bobby Carpenter and Tracy White are shown the door.
Cornerback (6): Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Will Allen, Sterling Moore, Alfonzo Dennard
Thoughts: After watching the secondary atrocities of last season, I'm stocking up on corners to start the season. McCourty, Arrington and Dowling are likely the three primary corners. I have Allen making the roster simply because he has the experience that they lacked last year in their depth. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Alfonzo Dennard was the best value pick the team made this year, and he'll pay dividends. The AFC Championship hero Moore is also in, because of his versatility.
Safety (4): Pat Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Sergio Brown
Thoughts: The Tavon Wilson experience begins. Like many Patriots fans, I believe there is something that we don't know about with this kid yet. I believe he performs well in camp and slots in nicely behind Chung at free safety. I believe a key battle will be Brown vs. Nate Ebner, with Brown winning because of his experience and superior special teams. Ebner goes to the practice squad.
Special Teams (3): Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken
Thoughts: Do we need to go any further?