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Instant reaction to the Patriots’ initial 53-man roster

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New England’s final roster moves have been announced.

NFL: Preseason-Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have officially announced all of the transactions taking the roster down to 53 players today.

The official 53-man roster

The wonderful Mark Daniels of The Providence Journal made this fantastic chart, which details the initial roster:

Surprises

Demaryius Thomas

After a stellar performance in his only action of the preseason, many had Thomas penciled onto the roster. His release opened up a spot for UDFA Jakobi Meyers, but there’s also a chance he could be back at some point in the near future.

Shilique Calhoun

The former Michigan State standout’s performance in camp and in preseason action in Detroit and Tennessee certainly made an impression, but most thought an injury he sustained against the Titans could derail his chances. Those chances suddenly improved with the placement of Derek Rivers on season-ending IR today. Calhoun’s injury could also make him a candidate for the in-season IR list with a designation to return down the road. If not, he, along with Deatrich Wise — another player who was firmly on the roster bubble and made it through today — will provide pass rushing depth in a talented, disruptive front seven.

Gunner Olszewski

Perhaps no one had more of a roller coaster experience on cut-down day than the UDFA out of Bemidji State. Converting from cornerback to wide receiver (and back again on occasion), the fan favorite will provide the Patriots with some much-needed punt return ability.

Takeaways

Two quarterbacks

With the release of Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham clearly showed the Patriots coaching staff enough this summer for them to trust the fourth-round rookie to be Tom Brady’s primary, and only, backup this season. Expect the team to look to the market after the waiver period for a practice squad-eligible quarterback to stash away for depth.

Wide receiver depth

Not many teams have the ability to cut a veteran with as much talent and gas left in the tank as a guy like Demaryius Thomas, but the fact that the Patriots did just that shows their confidence in veteran Phillip Dorsett, and the aforementioned Meyers. Also, not many teams will be rolling with a starting trio as potent as New England’s: Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and N’Keal Harry.

A light interior defensive line

With the release of Mike Pennel earlier in the weak and David Parry on Saturday, the Patriots have one above average-sized “run stuffer” left on roster; Danny Shelton. Guy and Butler are both looking svelte, and rookie Byron Cowart — who definitely shows some promise — was listed at 298 pounds at the combine. The lack of multiple prototypical “two-gappers” is interesting in the sense that it definitely seems to be the general direction the league is moving in, and it also could be a factor in the team’s decision to keep a guy like Elandon Roberts — who excels at shooting gaps and stuffing ball carriers in short yardage situations.


It’s one of the deepest and most talented rosters we’ve seen coming out of training camp in quite some time for the Patriots. And, at the moment, it’s still a fresh ball of clay for Bill Belichick. So expect multiple moves, potentially a trade or two, and probably some new faces to be added to the roster by next Sunday’s tilt with the Pittsburgh Steelers.