For the first time in 20 years, the Patriots will take the field sans Tom Brady. The face of the franchise and greatest player in the history of the league signed with Tampa Bay in March and launched the organization into a new era. The good news is life goes on. The bad news: we are entering the unknown. So let’s enter it together and take a look at the current Patriot roster and make a tier list that ranks each players chances of cracking the final 55.
The tier list will be comprised of five categories.
The Guy: Each position group has their guy. In terms of the QB position it’s the starter, but in other places it can be the best player, a leader, or sometimes you just look and say “it’s him”.
Roster Locks: This one is pretty obvious. Guys who’s only chance of missing out on the final 55 is injury or being an idiot.
Fringe Roster Guys: These are the guys who will enter camp battling for a roster spot. Veterans trying to keep their jobs and late round guys or UDFA trying to take them.
Longshots: One of these guys is going to end up making the roster but entering camp these are the players who’s names you kind of know but not really.
Camp Body (No Chance in Hell): Here is where it get’s interesting. I‘ll have some fun with this one and I will bet that none of the players I put in this category will make the roster. If one of them does I will donate $100 to the charity of the readers choosing. (I’m new here so it shouldn’t be hard to root against me and for the guys fighting for a job.)
Without further ado, the list.
Jarrett Stidham – This season belongs to Jarrett Stidham. Though we have a small sample size, against subpar competition, Stidham proved he could go last preseason. He showed great poise, good footwork, and a whole lot of arm talent in the time he had to play. I highlighted a few of the things that show how different of a quarterback he is than Brady.
Little stuff like buying time for his receiver to get open here. pic.twitter.com/LE2YBJLEzK— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) May 11, 2020
Easily picking up a 3rd and 11 in Titans territory on a run. I’m in love. pic.twitter.com/GbnfVmOksK— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) May 11, 2020
Brian Hoyer – Hoyer is heading into his third stint in New England for good reason. No matter where he has been he has done a good job. He never really got a fair shot in Cleveland or Houston (though he had winning records in both stops) but he has been solid throughout his 11-year career. The real reason he is a lock though is because of Stidham: Stidham is headed into Year Two and there is no chance in hell that Bill Belichick has two quarterbacks with a combined one year of NFL experience headed into this next season. We all know what Hoyer can do.
Fringe Roster Guys
J’Mar Smith – I believe J’Mar Smith could have been drafted. Smith started 43 games in college and ended his career with 66 total touchdowns to 21 interceptions and improved his teams record every year as a starter. He has an impressive arm and is a pretty damn good athlete. Though I have him listed as a long shot he still has a chance to make the roster, the Patriots have been more receptive to having three quarterbacks on the roster, and Smith is the third best one they’ve got. That’s easy math, baby.
Camp Body (No Chance in Hell)
Brian Lewerke – I know the caption is mean but to me Lewerke just doesn’t have it. Heading into 2017 it looked like Lewerke could be the next Michigan State guy to have a long career in the league (Brian Hoyer, Kirk Cousins, Drew Stanton, etc.) but his inconsistent play in his final two seasons saw his draft stock plummet. He threw 24 interceptions and only 25 touchdowns in his final two college seasons as the leader of an anemic Michigan State offense. In terms of positives, he is a tough SOB who isn’t afraid to mix it up to get a few yards. He also has a tendency to make great throws towards the sidelines and played well when the roster around him was better early in his career.
So there you have it, episode (?) one of the Tier List series. I will be back this week to rank the running backs. Until then tell me what you think in the comments.