Photo by George Martinez, Miami New Times
Written By Jason Feiner, @FeinerScores
The NFL’s training camp is fast approaching and will help decide teams final 53-man roster. The Patriots have restocked after losing valuable pieces that have helped immensely throughout their run over the past 5 years. All eyes will be on the receiver group as each player attempts to carve out a role in the Patriots day-1 roster. Here’s a glimpse at what New England's 2019 team could look like come PrimeTime against the Steelers.
The Patriots used a 4th round pick on Stidham who has been playing almost exclusively with the third team through team activities. Danny Etling is likely to be released but could find a spot on the practice squad for the second year in a row.
Sony Michel and James White are as safe as any player on this roster, and Rex Burkhead gives valuable veteran experience and dual-threat capability. Brandon Bolden was let go in training camp last year but returned to the Patriots this offseason after the previous six seasons in New England and this past in Miami. He offers valuable special teams play and has been given high guaranteed money almost ensuring his roster status. Damien Harris was the Patriots 3rd round pick and could serve as the line back later in the year.
PUP: Demaryius Thomas
SUS: Josh Gordon
Maurice Harris has impressed this summer and Mathew Slater is one of the best special teamers in the league with immense leadership. Phillip Dorsett will be entering his third season with the patriots and will have the opportunity to continue to build his rapport with Brady. Thomas will begin the year on PUP missing the first eight weeks of the season.
SUS: Ben Watson
This is the least amount of talent the Patriots have rostered since drafting both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in the 2010 draft. Matt Lacosse is a solid receiving threat with blocking upside. Izzo is a dominant blocker and will come into the game in certain packages. Don’t be surprised if Izzo is let go upon Watson’s return to the field.
Wynn will get the first crack at left tackle and Marcus Cannon when healthy will continue to be a stud on the right side. If Cajuste’s health checks out he will prove to be a steal selection from the third round. He will slot in as the swing tackle after Jared Velheer’s sudden retirement.
Interior Offensive Line:
Joe Thuney and Shaq mason make up one of the best tandem guard packages in the league and Karras offers the flexibility to play on both sides. Froholdt was a high investment selected in the 4th round and has the versatility to play inside and out as an option at guard and tackle.
The Patriots defense depends on specific players for certain packages. Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler have been making an abundance of plays throughout their time in NE and lead the interior defensive line unit. Mike Pennel has a straight shot due to a familiarity with the defense and the guarantees in his contract. Danny Shelton and Byron Cowart offer up two different skill sets that will make them slide into the 4th and 5th spot on the roster.
The departure of Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborne in free Agency made the Patriots depth at defensive end thin. Michale Bennet has since helped ease the losses, but more bodies may be required to reduce the full damage. Winovich should see plenty of playing time in his rookie season and will be an impact player early. Derek Rivers could sneak into one of the final roster spots if more bodies on the edge are required.
Kyle Van Noy
Ja’Whaun Bentley was a thumper and active member in the Patriots defense in the early goings of 2018 but in week three he tore his biceps and was lost for the season. He has training camp to regain his former role. This leaves Elandin Collins on the outside looking in, but with the experience he has and familiarity in the Patriots system, he will make final cuts. Jamie Collins has a chance to rewrite history with his return to New England following a trade in 2016 that cost him two Super Bowl rings. He will be a large contributor this season and could reclaim his starting spot early on. Brandon King is a versatile defender who can cover and play in the box. He is a playmaker on special teams.
The Patriots always enter the season with an excess of defensive backs on their roster. Krossen was a core special team in 2018 and looked adequate when given opportunity with the defense. He is the player on this list least likely to crack the 53 man roster, but his strides since year one should give him the final push. The Patriots have five locks on their week one roster including Gilmore, Williams, Jackson, McCourty, and Jones. They won’t give up on their former second-round slot corner after an injury-plagued year, so consider Dawson safe.
The Patriots will be heavily relying on their big three at the safety position. McCourty, Chung, and Harmon have been stalwarts in the Patriots scheme. Ebner is a lock due to his special teams' contributions.
Punter: Jake Bailey
Snapper: Joe Cordona
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
Jake Bailey will be in a tight battle at the punter spot against the aging Ryan Allen. The two lefty punters both have a chance to win the job, but after being selected in the 5th round of the 2019 draft, Bailey has gained an edge over the consistent presence of Allen. Joe Cordona and Gostkowski are locked and won’t have any serious competition in camp.