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80 thoughts on all 80 Patriots players ahead of roster cutdowns

With cutdown day on the horizon let’s take a look at every player on New England’s current 80-man roster.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After concluding their preseason with a 23-6 defeat against Las Vegas the New England Patriots now turn their attention to roster cut down day. The Patriots will have some difficult decisions to make as they trim their roster from 80 to 53 players (plus an eventual practice squad) by Aug. 30, 4 p.m. ET.

For now, here are 80 thoughts on all current 80 members of the Patriots.

Quarterback

Mac Jones: Building off a strong rookie season is not exactly what has happened this preseason for Jones. The sophomore quarterback continues to look confused and frustrated in the Patriots evolving offense. As he said postgame last Friday, Jones needs to do a better job of working the pocket and his decision making has been shaky — highlighted by his interception against the Las Vegas Raiders. With all the changes around him, New England is certainly not making life any easier for its 23-year-old franchise cornerstone.

Bailey Zappe: Zappe has come a long way since the start of training camp. He has the physical tools to play in the NFL, while his grasp of the offense and ability to read defenses continue to grow. His two-minute drill against the Carolina Panthers Friday night, which stalled due to penalties, was a strong example of that.

Brian Hoyer: Despite Zappe’s growth, Hoyer is the unquestioned No. 2 quarterback entering the season. Also, don't expect him to be cut on deadline day again to save a roster spot on the 53-man team, as the veteran’s contract features a fully-guaranteed $3 million.

Running back

Damien Harris: Without a true third-down back on the roster, Harris could see an increased role in the passing attack. As was the case against Carolina earlier this preseason, Harris — as well as Rhamondre Stevenson and Ty Montgomery — stayed on the field on third down during their respective drives. Belichick noted last week how the team has to “plan accordingly” as those backs are “looking at all three downs.”

Rhamondre Stevenson: As Stevenson will also be used more on third down, his improvement in the pass game has been praised. The second-year man told reporters earlier in camp that was a focus of his throughout the offseason. The work appears to have caught his coaches’ attention, as Belichick said Stevenson’s “done a really good job improving his pass game skills, starting with blitz pickup and protection.”

Ty Montgomery II: Montgomery left Friday’s preseason game against the Raiders with an ankle injury. Him missing any extended time would be a big blow for New England’s offense. The Patriots’ top three running backs all had a standalone drive against Carolina and it may not be a coincidence that the offense’s lone score came with Montgomery on the field, who plunged in a 2-yard score himself. It has become apparent throughout camp he will be headed towards a Day 1 role with the team. Now, uncertainty.

Pierre Strong Jr.: Strong has had a quiet summer after being a limited participant to begin training camp with an undisclosed injury. He seemed destined to head towards a redshirt year, but perhaps will be in for a bigger workload with Montgomery’s injury.

Kevin Harris: Harris on the other hand may not be such a sure-fire bet for a roster spot. He’s built like a Mack truck and is a strong runner who broke off New England’s best run of the preseason against the Raiders. The team has also tried to get him involved in the passing attack. If a 53-man roster spot isn't open, New England would likely want to keep the 2022 sixth-round pick around on the practice squad.

J.J. Taylor: Taylor finds himself in a similar spot as Harris, and perhaps is only still fighting for a roster spot as the rookies have been quiet. Taylor has had a better camp than Strong, but could be fighting an unfair match against the 2022 fourth-rounder. He will likely be kept around in some fashion however, especially after the Montgomery injury.

Wide receiver

Jakobi Meyers: Same old same old for Jakobi Meyer. He’s been ole’ reliable for Mac Jones throughout camp, getting open quickly with his crisp route running ability. “He's a really smart football player,” Jones said Wednesday when asked about Meyers. “I trust him.”

DeVante Parker: Parker’s 6-foot-3 frame brings a new element to the Patriots receiver room. That flashed instantly, as the former Dolphin pulled down a handful of 50-50 jump balls in the first week of training camp. Parker continues to be a strong option in the red zone and impress with his work along the boundary.

Kendrick Bourne: Bourne’s tumultuous week against Carolina was well-documented, but the Patriots need him. He proved last year to be perhaps their best offensive playmaker and appeared to be heading towards a larger role in the offense. The hope is that his game will elevate when the pads come on for real in September.

Nelson Agholor: Perhaps the Patriots receiver with the most question marks around him. A disappointing first year in New England and large cap hit certainly make Agholor’s future murky. But, the play has improved and the compliments are pouring in from his head coach and quarterback. The Patriots offense is better with Nelson Agholor, whether it comes from plays like his 45-yarder against Carolina, or just from the stress his speed puts on opposing defenses.

Tyquan Thornton: The collarbone injury is obviously a crushing blow for the Patriots as Thornton had rightfully earned playing time with the “1s” during camp. He’ll need to be on the original 53-man roster before moving to the injured reserve; otherwise, he would not be eligible for reactivation further down the line.

Lil’Jordan Humphrey: To me, Humphrey made the team with his spectacular special teams play against the Panthers. His work in the passing game, especially in the middle of the field, only helps his cause. Belichick calling him a “big receiver, tight end-ish type of guy” after the game was also notable. Humphrey seems more valuable than a third tight end like Devin Asiasi who would spend most of the season inactive.

Kristian Wilkerson: Unfortunately, Wilkerson has not been able to build off his strong preseason opener as he suffered a concussion against Carolina in joint practices. It would be no surprise if a WR-needy team nabbed him on cutdown day.

Tre Nixon: The star of the spring hasn't shinned as bright this summer. Nixon hasn't been able to separate himself from the pack and is now firmly behind Humphrey on the roster bubble. The part of Nixon’s game that has impressed the most is his work out of the slot. Despite being a vertical burner in college, he has handled the Patriot route tree smoothly. With Jakobi Meyers’ free agency on the horizon, the team would likely want to get him back on the practice squad for another season.

Josh Hammond: Hammond signed on late during training camp and hasn't done much on the field. A rough preseason game against Carolina all but sealed his fate.

Tight end

Jonnu Smith: The Patriots have been force-feeding Jonnu Smith the ball throughout the summer. With Belichick now leading the offense together with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, he has manufactured ways to get his high-priced investment the ball any way possible. Smith may trail only Jakobi Meyers out of all New England pass catchers in touches throughout the summer.

Hunter Henry: Before going down with a minor injury, in which he returned last Tuesday, Henry looked as solid as ever. After leading the team with nine touchdowns last season, he looks ready for another big year in the red zone.

Devin Asiasi: As mentioned above, Asiasi’s time seems to be dwindling. The former third-round draft pick hasn't taken a step forward on the field this summer, which puts a 53-man roster spot in question. Considering he spent most of last season as a weekly inactive, opting for someone like Humphrey who can contribute on special teams seems like a better use of a roster spot.

Matt Sokol: At times, Sokol has made more plays on the field than Asiasi. If they opt to keep two true tight ends on the active roster, Sokol, or Asiasi, would likely find their way to the practice squad. The Patriots could then elevate one to the active roster if needed on game days, or outright sign one if they need a longer-term replacement.

Jalen Wydermyer: After being signed two weeks ago, Wydermyer was preseason depth with Henry being banged up. There's some intriguing potential, however, as the former four-star recruit was named a second-team All-SEC selection twice and was also a two-time finalist for the John Mackey Award through three years at Texas A&M. Perhaps he’s someone the Patriots would rather work with long-term on the practice squad.

Offensive line

Trent Brown: Brown has been virtually unstoppable in practice. In 1-on-1s, the rep is over once he gets his hands on the opposition.

Cole Strange: The rookie has looked like a rookie at times in practice. In two preseason games, he’s been impressive, however. As a plus-athlete coming from a zone-heavy running scheme in college, Strange has fit right in into the Patriots’ new emphasis on zone blocking. Against Carolina, he was perfect in all 17 of his true pass sets.

David Andrews: Andrews continues to be the leader of this unit. Throughout preseason, the long-time captain has been seen acting as a coach on the sideline with the unit. He’ll be the leading factor in resolving the communication issues the Patriots are currently battling through with their new offensive verbiage.

Michael Onwenu: Onwenu started at right tackle in New England’s second preseason game with Isaiah Wynn sidelined. He looked as solid as ever before seemingly taking a step back against Las Vegas. It will be interesting to watch how he fares in a zone run scheme throughout the year as his play style better suited the power run game.

Isaiah Wynn: Speaking of Wynn, he returned to practice last Monday and took back his old place as the starting right tackle. He did so in the midst of trade talks, which would clear all $10.4 million of his cap hit off the Patriots’ books. Still, Wynn remains the team’s best option at the position.

Yodny Cajuste: As Wynn missed a week-plus of practice with an undisclosed injury, Cajuste saw the majority of the time with the first unit. He has put together a solid camp — one that Belichick called his best as a pro — and looks like a strong bet for a roster spot.

Justin Herron: Herron got the first crack at replacing Wynn earlier in camp after a strong start to his summer, but a dreadful practice (and eventual injury) got him replaced by Cajuste. In an interesting twist last Wednesday, Herron was first up at right tackle with Wynn missing time. He’s still a plus athlete and looks better than last season, likely leading towards him sticking around considering Brown and Wynn’s injury history.

Kody Russey: The undrafted free agent may be the most improved player of camp. My first memory of Russey was watching him get dominated by Patriot defensive lineman in 1-on-1s, but has done a full 180. He impressed against Carolina on Friday night and could be trending towards a 53-man roster spot. He also was a former captain at Houston.

William Sherman: Sherman has also come a long way since the start of camp. The 2021 sixth-round pick also has some versatility and has planted himself on the roster bubble with his strong play of late. He’s also a solid athlete that could help in the zone-run game.

James Ferentz: Ferentz seems to always hang around, but is trending in the wrong direction of late. He got kicked out of practice against Carolina and followed it up with some struggles in that preseason matchup. With Russey trending upwards, Ferentz’s spot could be in question, but the versatile veteran has proven to be a strong depth option.

Arlington Hambright: After splitting time with Michael Onwenu at right guard to begin camp, Hambright has retreated back to the second unit. He struggled against Las Vegas Friday night, but is another plus-athlete that has lined up at both guards spot as well as tackle for the Patriots this summer.

Chasen Hines: Hines is yet another development piece who has impressed in limited action. Despite spending the beginning weeks of training camp on the non-football injury list, Hines impressed in his first game action against Carolina. He’s extremely powerful in the run game. The Patriots are absolutely loaded with a deep group of young offensive line talent.

Yasir Durant: Durant played eight games for the Patriots last year after the team traded for him shortly before the season began. The 6-foot-7 tackle has taken a backseat to both Cajuste and Herron this summer.

Bill Murray: Murray’s position switch did not get much traction as he was hurt in New England’s preseason opener. He has showcased some athleticism at the position and it wouldn't be a surprise if New England continues to work with him on the practice squad, though.

Drew Desjarlais: The Canadian Football League all-star has been quiet on the Patriots’ second and third units this summer. If the Patriots want to keep the 25-year-old around, it would be on the practice squad.

Defensive line

Christian Barmore: When the pads came on for the first time earlier this summer, Christian Barmore reminded everyone he's really, really good. Barmore, who spent the offseason focusing on his conditioning, looks primed to not only be on the field more for New England but make a bigger impact as well.

Davon Godchaux: Bill Belichick called Godchaux one of the “best defensive linemen” in football after signing him to an extension earlier in camp. Belichick has a point based on Godchaux’s play on the practice fields this summer, as he has made life a living hell for any opposing rushing attacks he’s faced.

Lawerence Guy: Guy has been solid as ever as a run defender in early down situations and a veteran leader along the defensive line.

Deatrich Wise Jr.: Wise Jr. missed time early in camp but retook his spot with the starting base defensive unit since his return. Despite his ejection from one joint session he shined against Carolina, working the Panthers’ starting offensive tackles in both practice and in the preseason matchup.

LaBryan Ray: The depth along the defensive line is a really intriguing part of the Patriots roster. The first of those pieces is UDFA LaBryan Ray, who seems to make a play a day on the practice fields. The former five-star recruit has the frame to play in the NFL and has stood out against the run, while also showing some bull-rush ability Friday night against Las Vegas.

Henry Anderson: Anderson provides a veteran option for defensive line depth. Early in camp, he was first up to replace the injured Wise Jr. but has since retreated to the backup units. He doesn't provide much as a pass rusher, but dominates against the run. If New England feels weak along the edge, Anderson could work his way onto the 53-man roster.

Sam Roberts: Another youth option for the Patriots. Roberts hasn't shown much in practice but has popped under the lights in the preseason, specifically in New England’s first two matchups. The 2022 sixth-round pick has shown his ability to get after the quarterback in both of those games.

Carl Davis Jr.: It is not always flashy, but Davis consistently does his job as a two-gapping nose tackle. As Davis is perhaps the only true nose tackle on the Patriots roster, he’ll likely stick around in some fashion. With players like Ray, Roberts, Anderson, and Davis, it’s a battle of potential versus veteran depth for 53-man spots.

Daniel Ekuale: After coming on strong at the end of last season, Ekuale continues to string together positive reps as an interior pass rusher. As he’s suspended for the first two games of the season, he likely could be back in the fold at some point.

Jeremiah Pharms Jr.: At 6-foot-3, 275 pounds, Pharms is a wide body in the run game who had back-to-back stops last Friday in Las Vegas. He’s also showcased some burst as a pass rusher, providing some interior pressure against the Panthers.

Linebacker

Matthew Judon: Matthew Judon is Matthew Judon. He’s dominated of late against any offensive lineman across from him whether they be from New England, Carolina, or Las Vegas. He’s ready to go.

Josh Uche: Finding Judon secondary pass rush help would do wonders for the Patriots defense this season. That player looks like it will be Uche. The 2020 second-round pick has been a staple across from Judon in pass rushing situations and could be the team’s most naturally gifted pass rusher. His speed stands out along the edge.

Anfernee Jennings: One of the biggest surprises from camp is another Day 2 selection from the 2020 draft: the forgotten Jennings has become the starting edge defender across from Judon. After spending his rookie year off the ball, Jennings has impressed back on the line of scrimmage where he succeeded at Alabama. He is strong in the run game and has flashed pass-rushing ability as well.

Ja’Whaun Bentley: With Dont’a Hightower out of the picture, Bentley has become a leader in the locker room. “8 is out leader and we are all rallying behind him,” Matthew Judon told reporters earlier in camp. On the field, Bentley has appeared down near the line of scrimmage more, perhaps as they try to keep him out of unfavorable coverage situations.

Mack Wilson Sr.: Mack Wilson is everywhere. He flies around the field, which is exactly what the Patriots needed at the linebacker position. His speed has shown up both in coverage and as a pass rusher.

Raekwon McMillan: Coming off a torn ACL, McMillan has often been the starting off- ball linebacker next to Ja’Whaun Bentley. Like Wilson, he works well in space and provides New England a more versatile and athletic player in the middle of they defense. His speed in coverage stood out on several occasions against Las Vegas.

Jahlani Tavai: Despite Tavai’s skillset differing from the athletic McMillan and Wilson, he has had a regular role. Belichick has praised Tavai numerous times this summer, most recently calling him a “smart kid, really good football player” that can “do a lot of different roles.” Belichick also mentioned he has “developed a leadership role with the team.” His usage throughout the offseason looks like he could be in for a true four-down role.

DaMarcus Mitchell: Mitchell is another UDFA that has impressed this summer. Besides impressing while running with the starting kickoff unit of late, Mitchell has shown potential promise as a pass rusher. He finished New England’s second preseason game with a strip sack and had two hurries against Vegas.

Cameron McGrone: One of the most hyped-up player of the offseason, McGrone has unfortunately not translated the hype into on-field production. His speed and athleticism certainly still flash, but he needs time after missing a year-plus with a torn ACL. He played his best game of the preseason Friday night, so continued developmental with a year on the practice squad could do wonders.

Harvey Langi: Langi has versatility at the position and proven special teams ability, but he’s buried on the defensive depth chart.

Nate Wieland: Wieland has provided linebacker depth throughout the preseason while also appearing on both the kickoff return and the kickoff coverage squad. He’s practice squad material.

Cornerback

Jalen Mills: Mills has been one of the Patriots’ best players throughout training camp and dominated against Carolina in joint practices. After getting beaten up last Tuesday by the Raiders’ Davante Adams in 1-on-1 drills, Mills responded well and beat Adams on Wednesday. That short-term memory is needed at the position and Mills’ bounce back was an encouraging sign.

Jonathan Jones: A long-time slot cornerback, Jones has been manning the boundary spot opposite Mills in camp — a move Belichick said could help create depth at the position. Despite Jones’ size (5-foot-10), he has competed well on the outside, even against some taller Carolina receivers last week and Davante Adams this week.

Marcus Jones: Jonathan Jones’ move to the outside has opened the door for the third-round rookie to handle slot duties. While the position hasn't been gifted to him, he has seen his fair share of time in the slot with the starting defense. Jones is also in the mix to be the Day 1 punt returner.

Myles Bryant: Competing directly with the rookie at both positions is third-year man Myles Bryant. Bryant struggled against Hunter Renfrow throughout joint practices, but he’s been impressive as a punt returner in the preseason — the first time he’s returned punts since high school.

Jack Jones: The other rookie at the position, Jack Jones has come along slower after a strong spring. The fourth-round pick had some impressive coverage tape against the Panthers in the fourth quarter. He smothered a crossing route and later ran Derek Wright’s route for him, nearly recording an interception. He’ll like be depth along the boundary his rookie season. He followed it up with another impressive showing against Las Vegas, where his play in press-man stood out.

Terrance Mitchell: It’s been an interesting camp for Mitchell. He opened the first week as the outside corner opposite Mills, but has retreated to a reserve role as Jonathan Jones’ usage was altered. Given the state of the current group, he appears to be in a roster battle for the final cornerback spot.

Shaun Wade: Who’s Mitchell likely battling for that spot? Shaun Wade. The once promising prospect has started to string together some solid practices and preseason performances. He uses his 6-foot-1 frame nicely and is physical against opposing receivers. The sophomore has been limited last week against Vegas and did not suit up in the preseason finale, but his intrigue as a prospect could be enough to keep him around.

Safety

Devin McCourty: Not much to report here. Mr. Reliable is back patrolling the Patriots secondary.

Kyle Dugger: At times, Dugger was the top safety behind McCourty against Carolina. The Patriots also continue to use him in the box as a hybrid-linebacker to create more dynamic 3-4 looks.

Adrian Phillips: Phillips provides another option as a hybrid-type playmaker who can help create numerous looks. He’s impressed in pass coverage as well throughout the summer.

Jabrill Peppers: Talking about building the whole ship with safeties, Peppers is another versatile option in the safety room. He is still building up following the ruptured ACL he suffered last season, but his play speed and energy has been noticeable on the practice field.

Joshuah Bledsoe: The early star of camp, Bledsoe has continued to look solid. He has shown the ability to guard tight ends and play deep safety, while also having a nose for the football as illustrated by his forced fumble against Carolina.

Brad Hawkins: Hawkins was already behind the eight ball after signing with the Patriots in early August. In a loaded safety room, his path to the roster was special teams as he was a core special teamer throughout his collegiate career at Michigan. Unfortunately, the Patriots have a loaded special teams group as well. Speaking of which...

Special teams

Matthew Slater: You know the drill here.

Justin Bethel: Bethel has been as advertised for the Patriots since signing with the club in 2019. It would be a surprise if he was not handling gunner duties opposite of Slater come Week 1.

Cody Davis: Davis has been a core special teamer for New England since 2020, serving the personal punt protector role since Nate Ebner’s departure. He seems likely to fulfill that role again this season, but does have some competition in the form of:

Brenden Schooler: One of the stories of the summer, Schooler’s rise through the roster ranks has been impressive. Schooler is a strong athlete who has worked extensively with the special teams throughout the summer. During practice, he’s often honing his 1-on-1 skills with Matthew Slater and has appeared on the Patriots’ starting kickoff coverage unit. Schooler has also served on the punt protection group, lining up as the personal protector as well.

Nick Folk: Since joining New England in 2019, Folk has been extremely reliable for the Patriots. That hasn’t changed this summer.

Tristan Vizcaino: Vizcaino was brought in likely to limit Folk’s workload, but he’s been somewhat reliable himself on the practice field. After missing a 53-yard field goal wide right against Carolina, he responded well with a 51-yard make. He did not kick against the Raiders, however.

Jake Bailey: Any talk about a punter competition didn’t materialize, especially after Bailey inked a new four-year extension. Following a somewhat down season last year, Bailey looks as good as ever for New England entering 2022.

Joe Cardona: Cardona’s role is set, but the long snapper had one of the coolest moments of training camp. Cardona, who holds the rank of Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve, conducted a reenlistment ceremony for Chief Information Technician Vanessa Holguin after practice one day.

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