The New England Patriots have cut down their roster under the 53-man regular season limit through a series of transactions over the last two days. While more moves will follow soon – the Patriots only have 52 players signed at the moment, after all –, we now have a first roster to work with and analyze. Let’s do just that.
The Patriots need to add at least one more wide receiver
As things stand right now, wide receiver is the lightest position on the team: after cutting Riley McCarron and placing Julian Edelman and Braxton Berrios on reserve lists, New England currently has only three pure wide receivers under contract. Expect New England to add at least one more body over the next few days to offer depth alongside the top trio, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson.
The offensive line and safety positions could also see reinforcements
While not as glaring a need as wide receiver depth, New England could look at its offensive line and safety spots as other positions in need of more bodies. While the Patriots might look to the waiver wire or open market to find another offensive tackle, they may already have a backup safety on their team: cornerback Jason McCourty has seen plenty of snaps at the position over the past two weeks and could serve as the number four safety if need be. It would also not be a surprise, though, if the Patriots brought in another safety from the outside.
New England’s defensive edge looks deep on paper
Last year, the Patriots had to rely on in-season signings Eric Lee and James Harrison to provide depth along a defensive edge that was lacking just that. This year, the group looks much better with Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn as the top options, and Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Keionta Davis behind them. On paper, New England has been able to address one of the major weaknesses of 2017.
Another undrafted rookie makes the team
Training camp standout J.C. Jackson has survived roster cutdowns, which means that another undrafted rookie free agent has been able to make the team. 2018 will therefore be the 15th straight season that a player who did not hear his name called during the draft has made it through cutdown weekend and onto the initial 53-man squad. Whether or not Jackson can establish his presence on the team remains to be seen, but the early signs certainly were encouraging.
There are few surprises on and off the team
While the Patriots made plenty of moves over the last two days, there were not a lot of unexpected developments ones among them. The release of Cyrus Jones and the Jordan Richards could be qualified as minor surprises, as could Geneo Grissom making the team and New England opting to go with just three pure wideouts. Ultimately, however, there were no real shockers among the Patriots’ transactions.