Trimming the New England Patriots’ roster can be a troublesome activity for head coach Invoice Belichick this summer season.
The Patriots splurged in free company and put collectively a loaded 2021 NFL Draft class.
Right here’s our greatest try to whittle the Patriots’ 2021 roster from 83 gamers right down to 53:
We most likely may have made this whole train simpler if we solely stored Jones and Newton. However Invoice Belichick likes safety on the quarterback place, so it positively wouldn’t be stunning to see Stidham stick round for one more 12 months.
That is assuming Newton is the Patriots’ Week 1 starter. If it’s Jones, then your entire group may get a reshuffling.
RUNNING BACK (5)
Now we have Brandon Bolden off the roster at this level. In 2017, the Patriots reduce Bolden after which re-signed him two days later after inserting gamers on injured reserve. It could price the Patriots $500,000 in lifeless cap however that is perhaps a greater choice than the danger of dropping a youthful participant on waivers whereas going by means of that course of.
WIDE RECEIVER (5)
That is nonetheless an space that looks as if it may use an improve, however keep in mind New England could have two tight ends on the sphere for almost all of offensive snaps. The Patriots may nonetheless look so as to add a veteran like Golden Tate, Dede Westbrook or Damiere Byrd, however additionally they have some intriguing depth with Kristian Wilkerson and Tre Nixon on the skin wanting in at this group.
TIGHT END (4)
You’ll most likely discover at this level that we don’t have fullback Jakob Johnson on the record. That’s not an oversight. New England has acquired a roster exemption for Johnson, for now, however that doesn’t carry over into the common season. The Patriots will run the vast majority of their offense in two tight-end units this season, lowering the necessity for a fullback. Suppose we’re loopy? Verify the Patriots’ rosters from 2010 to 2012 when Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez had been being deployed in two tight-end units. No full-time fullback.
Sammy Morris performed 85 snaps at fullback in 2010, and guard Dan Connolly and tight finish Alge Crumpler noticed reps on the place, per PFF’s charting.
In 2011, fullback Lousaka Well mannered performed 24 snaps, and New England additionally used Inexperienced-Ellis, Hernandez, Gronkowski, linebacker Dane Fletcher, tight finish Dan Gronkowski, guard Donald Thomas, heart Ryan Wendell and deal with Nate Solder within the backfield.
In 2012, fullback Lex Hilliard performed 9 snaps. Connolly, Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez and tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and Daniel Fells performed within the backfield.
If 2013, after Hernandez’s arrest and subsequent launch, fullback James Develin got here in and performed 369 offensive snaps.
All of that is to say the Patriots can determine it out at fullback with out a full-time participant on the place in a two-tight finish offense. They will shift the duties of an additional blocker over to certainly one of their tight ends. Smith and Henry will most likely see some backfield snaps, and when the Patriots want a real lead blocker, then Keene or an offensive lineman can go into the backfield.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
It is a little bit gentle, however the Patriots have a ton of versatility. Brown can play left or proper deal with, Herron can play deal with or guard, Karras can play heart or guard, Onwenu can play guard or proper deal with, Sherman can doubtlessly play deal with or guard and Wynn can play deal with or guard.
DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
The Patriots wanted to reshape this group, and that’s precisely what they did by including Anderson, Barmore and Godchaux whereas brining again Man and Clever.
EDGE DEFENDER (4)
Kyle Van Noy
This appears gentle, however do not forget that Dont’a Hightower, Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche can contribute on the sting.
Terez Corridor was a troublesome reduce after he flashed in 2020. It’s attainable he may beat out Bentley or Jennings for a roster spot.
Van Noy may transfer to off-ball linebacker full time. Winovich and Judon have expertise within the field, as nicely.
That is one other place New England may look to improve in free company. Jason McCourty continues to be accessible, and the Patriots have six open spots on their roster.
The Patriots can preserve simply 4 safeties since Bryant, Jones and Williams can all play the place. Particular-teamer Cody Davis solely performed two snaps at security final season for New England however took on a higher defensive position in previous stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams.
SPECIAL TEAMS (6)
If we’re being life like, even together with Bolden, the Patriots will most likely preserve another core special-teamer. The highest choices are Brandon King and LaRoy Reynolds. King has missed two full seasons after tearing his quad in 2019, so we’re not sure on his standing. He stays on the roster, nevertheless.
Like Bolden, they’re preliminary reduce candidates who could possibly be introduced again after a participant is positioned on injured reserve.
Rookie linebacker Cameron McGrone tore his ACL in November and is a candidate to start the season on the PUP record.
CANDIDATES TO RETURN
RB Brandon Bolden
LB Brandon King
LB LaRoy Reynolds
LB Raekwon McMillan
Bolden, and both King or Reynolds are candidates to stay round in some capability for particular groups. The Patriots may use McMillan for extra depth at linebacker. McMillan additionally may beat out Corridor, Bentley or Jennings.
TOP PRACTICE SQUAD CANDIDATES
FB Jakob Johnson
WR Tre Nixon
WR Kristian Wilkerson
LB Terez Corridor
S Joshuah Bledsoe
Now we have 5 (Jones, Barmore, Perkins, Stevenson and Sherman) of the Patriots’ eight-man draft class making the roster with McGrone beginning on the PUP record and Nixon and Bledsoe at present on the skin wanting in. The Patriots have but to signal any undrafted free brokers.
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