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Patriots Roster Cuts: Who’s at Risk

Taking a look at how the Patriots roster stands by breaking it into four categories: roster locks, looking good, bubble players, and longshots.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams will have to cut down their rosters to 53 players by 6:00 PM tomorrow, and each player is bound to have a different degree of comfort with their safety on the roster. There are some who are absolute locks, there are others who are looking safe, there are the bubble players, and of course the long shots. Chances are, when all is said and done, we’ll see a player or two who appeared safe get cut. And we’ll also probably see one or two guys who we thought were long shots sneak onto the roster.

That being said, here is my attempt to categorize each player on the Patriots roster under the four aforementioned categories – starting with the locks.

Roster Locks (Total: 31)

These players are virtual certainties to make the 53 man roster. They are essential to the Patriots success in 2013 and beyond and it would be shocking to see one of them cut, although not unheard of.

Quarterback (2): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett
Running Back (2): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen
Wide Receiver (4): Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce
Tight End (2): Rob Gronkowski, Zach Sudfeld
Offensive Line (4): Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Sebastian Vollmer
Defensive Line (4): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly
Linebacker (4): Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower, Jaime Collins
Cornerback (4): Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington, Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan
Safety (2): Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory
Specialists (3): Stephen Gostkowski, Matt Slater, Danny Aiken

Looking Good (12)

These players have to like their chances to stick to the final roster. They’re not considered bubble players. However, while it would be surprising to see them let go, it wouldn’t be a shock. While it’s difficult to put a number on it, the odds these players make the roster are 65%-plus. Also, some of these players may be “looking good” because of the numbers game rather than skill/performance.

Quarterback (0)Running Back (1): LeGarrette Blount
Wide Receiver (1): Julian Edelman
Tight End (1): Michael Hoomanawanui
Offensive Line (3): Dan Connolly, Marcus Cannon, Will Svitek
Defensive Line (3): Michael Buchanan, Justin Francis, Marcus Forston
Linebacker (0)Cornerback (1): Marquice Cole
Safety (1): Duron Harmon
Specialists (1): Zoltan Mesko

Bubble Players (Total: 14)

Flip a coin when it comes to predicting whether or not some of these players will make the final roster. These are the players that haven’t done quite enough to be a roster lock, have underperformed, or could be the victim of a logjam at a position. Chances are, you’ll see a good portion of these players get released. However, a good portion of these players will make the roster as well.

Quarterback (1): Tim Tebow
Running Back (2): Leon Washington, Brandon Bolden, James Develin
Wide Receiver (0)Tight End (0) (Note: Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard would have fallen into this category, but both were reportedly released today)
Offensive Line (1): Matt Stankiewitch
Defensive Line (4): Jake Bequette, Marcus Bernard, Jermaine Cunningham, Joe Vellano
Linebacker (2): Dane Fletcher, Steve Beauharnais
Cornerback (0)Safety (2): Adrian Wilson, Tavon Wilson
Specialists (1): Ryan Allen

Longshots (Total: 16)

I can almost guarantee you that a couple of these players end up making the final roster, but the odds aren’t in their favor, and that is why they are being labeled “long shots.” Some of these players have developmental upside, and I’d expect a few of them to also land on the practice squad (Quentin Sims, George Wynn, Justin Green, Joe Vellano all fall into this category):

Quarterback (0)Running Back (2): George Winn, Ben Bartholomew
Wide Receiver (2): Quentin Simms, Johnathan Haggerty
Tight End (0)Offensive Line (3): Chris McDonald, Josh Kline, Luke Patterson
Defensive Line (2): Scott Vallone, Gilbert Pena
Linebacker (3): Jeff Tarpinian, Mike Rivera, Ja’Gared Davis
Cornerback (2): Justin Green, Stephon Morris
Safety (2): Nate Ebner, Kanorris Davis
Specialists (0)

So what do you think? Do you disagree with any of my groupings? Keep in mind that the groupings aren’t necessarily my opinions on the players, rather just how I view the position on the team. Feel free to propose any changes!