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2022 NFL roster cuts: 8 waiver wire targets that would make sense for the Patriots

Related: How does the waiver wire work, and what does it mean for the Patriots?

Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

More than 800 NFL players were moved by their respective teams ahead of Tuesday’s roster cutdown deadline. A significant portion of them — those with fewer than four accrued seasons in the league — were placed on the waiver wire: teams have until 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday to put in claims in order to add them to their 53-man rosters.

The New England Patriots, who have the 21st spot in the waiver claim priority after their wild card playoff loss last season, have no capacities on their active roster right now. However, they have never shied away from making moves and going after players they think will help their team.

This means that they could very well be active again on Wednesday to bolster the depth at what appear to be their weakest positions at the moment. Is it likely that this will happen through waiver claims? Not necessarily, given that other players with more experience in the system would have to be let go to create space for any potential additions. Is it impossible, though? Of course not.

With that being said, let’s take a look at eight potential targets that would make sense.

WR Tyler Johnson: Johnson was one of the more surprising cuts on Tuesday. A fifth-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, he has appeared in 37 games so far and has been the recipient of 55 passes for 605 yards and a pair of touchdown. A speedy player who offers some hight, he might help replace the currently injured Tyquan Thornton in New England’s receiver room.

OL Wyatt Davis: Speaking of surprising cuts, Davis was waived by the Minnesota Vikings just one year after they selected him in the third round of the draft. The regime change put him on the outside looking in after he saw only special teams action as a rookie, but he offers intriguing positional flexibility along the interior offensive line.

DT Tyler Shelvin: Shelvin appeared to be a potential draft target for the Patriots coming out of LSU last year. At 6-foot-2, 350 pounds, he would give them a big-bodied presence along the defensive line that they have missed for quite some time now. The second-year man has had a rough preseason, but a change of scenery might help him get his career back on track.

LB Janarius Robinson: An intriguing talent who registered a 9.33 Relative Athletic Score coming out of Florida State last year, Robinson too fell victim to the Vikings’ front office turnover. The former fourth-round draft pick did miss all of his rookie season due to injury, but he might help bolster a New England edge that is a bit light after losing 2021 third-round draft pick Ronnie Perkins to IR.

WR Bo Melton: Melton joined the Seattle Seahawks out of Rutgers this year, but the seventh-round pick failed to make the team after an up-and-down preseason performance. Nonetheless, he offers some good straight-line speed to maybe serve as a stand-in if the aforementioned Tyquan Thornton will indeed spend time on injured reserve.

S Jason Pinnock: A fifth-round draft pick out of Pitt in 2021, Pinnock offers plenty of versatility not just in the defensive backfield but on special teams as well. With Justin Bethel released and possibly on his way out of town, New England might take a flier on the ex-New York Jets safety.

OL Michal Menet: Tuesday’s roster cuts left the Patriots a bit light along the interior offensive line, which is where Michal Menet has shown he can play several spots. Primarily a center since arriving in the NFL, he also has experience at both guard spots. New England needs to add more O-line depth, and Menet’s versatility might be worth a look.

OL John Leglue: Almost everything that has just been written about Menet also applies to John Leglue, with the difference that the latter is already in his fourth year in the NFL. As opposed to Menet, who is more of an interior presence, Leglue offers guard/tackle flexibility — something the Patriots might need given the injury questions atop their OT depth chart.

There are other players worth mentioning in this space as well. O-linemen Alec Lindstrom and Mike Caliendo have played some solid football as well, even though neither should be seen as an upgrade over the players released by New England on Tuesday. The same is true for Jay Tufele, who would offers some solid size alongside the interior defensive line.

Finally, there is one big name to talk about: Alex Leatherwood, who was released by the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday. The 17th overall selection in last year’s draft is an intriguing talent, but his contract situation and the fact that he failed to succeed in a system run by ex-Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels makes him a long-shot to be claimed by New England.