2023 Patriots 53 Man Roster Projection 3.0

Following the preseason win over the Packers, there seemed to be a new groundswell of support towards a certain rookie making the team. In the light of the injury to Isaiah Bolden, it's possible that the roster changes a little bit more to compensate for it.

QB (3): Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, Malik Cunningham

There's no guarantee that we would have seen Cunningham at QB during the game had it not ended early, but it may be increasingly difficult to sneak him onto the practice squad. While Mac Jones saw playing time, he also clearly showed that this wasn't the same clunky offense that was unveiled last year under Matt Patricia. Jones went 6/9, for 52 yards which included two incomplete throws that would've gone for big gains for DeVante Parker and a seam to Hunter Henry. Bailey Zappe was doing what he could in his time on the field finishing 10/22, for 117 yards, and 2 total TD (1 rushing). Zappe may not win the starting role, but it seems its clear that he's not getting legitimately challenged for QB2. Cunningham makes the team here due to future potential across the field, not just at QB.

RB (4): Rhamondre Stevenson, Ezekiel Elliott, Kevin Harris, Pierre Strong Jr.

It seems as though Strong could be a IR candidate to start the year, which would probably slide JJ Taylor onto the roster, but there may be hope that he can avoid any missed regular season on the roster. Ty Montgomery could also end up on the IR if he doesn't get back to health. The Patriots usually keep depth on the roster at RB, and this year shouldn't be any different. Stevenson and Elliott should take the brunt of the field time, and Belichick seems to like Kevin Harris, so keeping the 2nd year RBs should be the next steps behind them. Will Strong end up on the IR? Maybe. He's dealing with a concussion and is reportedly not far from returning. Either way, for now, he's making the roster in the projection.

WR (6): DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Demario Douglas, Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte

Welcome back to the roster projection, Mr. Boutte. Kayshon Boutte had one of his best showings so far, finally putting together all of the stellar practices, and he's going to make it increasingly difficult to hide him on the practice squad. Boutte broke free for a 42 yard TD reception from Bailey Zappe, finishing with 49 yards on 2 catches. Speaking of hiding, Demario Douglas has been hidden. "Pop" seems to be a roster lock at this point just judging by the way he's been used in the preseason, only seeing 3 offensive snaps against Green Bay. He made the most of the few snaps he had too, reeling in 2 passes for 17 yards. Tyquan Thornton could also see some time on the IR to start the year, which would make squeezing Boutte on a little bit easier logistically, but that all depends on how he's doing coming off his injury from joint practices with the Packers. Keeping 6 receivers isn't easy, but with the rookies showing a lot of potential, it's worth the risk.

TE (3): Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, Matt Sokol

The last projection put Anthony Firkser in the mix at TE, in this one, we move to Matt Sokol. Sokol saw 33 offensive snaps to Firkser's 17, and while Firkser showed up in the stat sheet with 2 catches for 13 yards, Sokol is still the better blocker out of the two. With the injury to Gesicki, keeping Firkser as a third receiving TE does hold it's advantages, but as a change of pace, the Patriots stash Sokol on the roster in order to aide the offensive line woes.

OL (8): Trent Brown, Atonio Mafi (R), Sidy Sow (R), Jake Andrews (R), David Andrews, Riley Reiff, Cole Strange, Michael Onwenu

The offensive line will be a major point of contention with roster projections due to the ineffectiveness they seem to keep showing. The starting 5 linemen could end up with Brown at LT, Strange at LG, David Andrews at C, Reiff at RG, and Onwenu at RT. Reiff saw time at RG during the game against the Packers and really seemed to adapt and hold up well there. Sliding Onwenu outside could solve the tackle problem, and also help get Onwenu a bigger payday if he adjusts to it very well. Calvin Anderson will probably stay on the NFI list, and sneaking depth pieces like Chasen Hines and Andrew Steuber onto the practice squad isn't nearly as tall of a task as it would be for WRs and other skill positions. Has Conor McDermott done enough to make the team? Has Sidy Sow's ability to slide around the line pushed McDermott off the initial roster? It has here.

DL (6): Davon Godchaux, Christian Barmore, Keion White (R), Deatrich Wise, Lawrence Guy, Carl Davis Jr.

Projecting the 6th member of the defensive line is tricky. Carl Davis presents a better run stuffer, while Ekuale presents a better pass rusher. Considering the run defense the Patriots displayed, it's not out of the question that the Patriots hang onto Carl Davis in order to fortify the defense. Ekuale and Davis almost make it difficult to project the position group even with 5 of them being locked in, but with the Patriots lining up against the run and gun Eagles in week 1, it makes sense that Davis would be the one selected for the roster at least for the first week of the 2023 season.

LB (7): Matthew Judon, Josh Uche, Marte Mapu (R), Juwan Bentley, Anfernee Jennings, Mack Wilson, Jahlani Tavai

The LB group won't see many surprises with roster projections. Judon and Uche anchor the edge rushing department, Bentley, Tavai and Wilson patrol the middle while Swiss army knife Marte Mapu remains to be seen in the preseason, but should be available for the final preseason game if he were to get snaps. Anfernee Jennings contributes on special teams and has shown flashes when used on the actual defense. It should be another solid group for the 2023 season, especially if Mapu can come into his own and contribute.

CB (5): Christian Gonzalez (R), Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones, Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant (IR: Isaiah Bolden)

While it seems like Bolden may make a full recovery in time, it wouldn't be totally surprising to see Bolden end up on the IR as a cautious approach to making sure he makes a full recovery. Belichick loves him some Myles Bryant, so all of the online campaigns will be falling on deaf ears when Bryant makes the team once again. If Bolden makes a recovery and they feel he's ready to play again, he's made these projections since the start of them, that wouldn't change. He had great position on the deep ball to Romeo Doubs, he's shown flashes in camp, he's got special teams ability, he'd be in. But for now, taking the cautious approach with Bolden doesn't seem like it's too far fetched. The other 5 corners seem to be locked in on the roster, any other corner would most likely be a special teamer like Ameer Speed.

S (5): Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers, Adrian Phillips, Jalen Mills, Joshuah Bledsoe

Bledsoe flashes and hits hard. The first 4 listed are locked in as much as any other position group on the entire roster, so Bledsoe is the only outlier. Bledsoe saw 41 defensive snaps (and another 12 on special teams), and tallied 4 tackles in the time. With the secondary being a key role in this division, and keeping only 5 corners, Bledsoe should make the team in order to let Mills be used in multiple roles. If Bledsoe doesn't make the team, it's probably because of depth issues at other positions like corner or offensive line, but here, he's gonna make it.

K/P (2): Chad Ryland (R), Bryce Baringer (R)

Unless there's skeletons in the closet, these kids seem to have taken control of the roles. Nick Folk can keep his phone nearby if he needs to, but Ryland seems to have a handle on things. Baringer's booming leg should play a huge role in upgrading special teams.

ST (4): Matthew Slater, Joe Cardona, Chris Board, Brendan Schooler

Trying to find a way to sneak Ameer Speed onto the roster in the name of special teams depth is extremely difficult. It may not be the hardest task to get Speed all the way to the practice squad unclaimed, but nobody puts as much emphasis on special teams like Belichick. Cody Davis will likely be on the IR or PUP list in order to recover from his season ending injury last year, which should also allow more roster flexibility elsewhere without him occupying a spot.

Last 3 In: Malik Cunningham, Carl Davis Jr., Matt Sokol

- Cunningham again shows up on this spot because it's hard to imagine the Patriots let him go and risk losing him. He's got more athleticism and speed than Jakobi Meyers, and if he can get the nuances of playing receiver down, he has the potential to be the next converted QB success story for the Patriots

- Carl Davis is basically fighting Daniel Ekuale for a roster spot, and while that sounds like something straight out a UFC pay per view, it's a numbers game for both of them. It could be match up based on how they construct the roster which was how Davis made it in this projection, but it really could go either way.

- Sokol is in the same boat as Davis. The injury to Gesicki should be taken care of by the time week 1 rolls around, but the battle for third TE could come down to skill set. Firkser is only 6'2 and 245 lbs, while Sokol stands at 6'5 and 258 lbs, so if the Patriots plan on keeping the TE room geared towards receiving efforts, Firkser may have an edge. Sokol gets it by being a big body and better blocker, which could help an ailing offensive line.

Last 3 off: Ameer Speed, Ty Montgomery, Chasen Hines

- Speed seems like he's the perfect candidate to sneak onto the roster with the injury to Bolden. Bolden reportedly avoided serious neck and spinal injury, suffering a concussion shouldn't keep him out of a potential return to make the roster. In this projection, they do without him by placing him on IR, which in turn allows them to keep the 6th WR. Speed could be a mainstay in the special teams department in future years, but it's a tall task to squeeze him onto the roster this year.

- Montgomery is dealing with an apparent leg injury, and it is possible he starts the year on the IR in order to keep him in the fold. Injuries happen, but it also keeps players off of rosters at this time of year, and with time running out, the numbers crunch coupled with the injuries works against Montgomery here.

-Chasen Hines saw 27 snaps on offense to Andrew Steuber's 47, and realistically either player could be viewed as one of the last 3 off along with Conor McDermott. The offensive line presents one of the bigger question marks on the entire roster and finding the right pieces to build a stable one is going to be tricky. For now, Hines and company remain off in order to keep the rookies in the fold.

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