Patriots 53-Man Roster Prediction and Surprise Cuts

NFL cutdown day is September 5th and the season kicks off less than a week later. The Patriots, along with the rest of the league, will have to finalize their 53-man roster prior to Saturday’s deadline. In that respect, it’s no different from any other year, but the uncertainty surrounding the season should play somewhat of a factor in deciding which players do and don’t make the roster.

QB:
Cam Newton
Jarrett Stidham

FB:
Jakob Johnson

RB:
James White
Sony Michel
Damien Harris
Rex Burkhead
Lamar Miller

WR:
Julian Edelman
N’Keal Harry
Mohamed Sanu
Devin Ross
Damiere Byrd
Gunner Olszewski

TE:
Ryan Izzo
Devin Asiasi
Dalton Keene

OL:
Isaiah Wynn
Joe Thuney
David Andrews
Shaq Mason
Korey Cunningham
Yodny Cajuste
Hjalte Froholdt
Tyler Gauthier

DL:
Lawrence Guy
Adam Butler
Beau Allen
Byron Coward
John Simon
Deatrich Wise

LB:
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Chase Winovich
Josh Uche
Brandon Copeland
Cassh Maluia
Shilique Calhoun
Anfernee Jennings

CB:
Stephon Gilmore
JC Jackson
Jonathan Jones
Jason McCourty
Michael Jackson

S:
Devin McCourty
Adrian Phillips
Kyle Dugger
Terrence Brooks
JoeJuan Williams

ST:
Matthew Slater
Justin Bethel
Joe Cardona

K:
Nick Folk

P:
Jake Bailey

Notable omissions:

Brian Hoyer

Perhaps the most controversial of my cuts, I just have an impossible time believing Bill Belichick will keep three quarterbacks on his roster during a pandemic. There’s been some buzz about Hoyer as the potential starter throughout training camp, not believable buzz, but buzz nonetheless. Still, he’s the least valuable asset the Patriots have at the quarterback position and he’s the logical player to release. It feels a little dirty to do this to Hoyer for the second year in a row, but that’s the NFL. Now, on the surface it may seem silly to cut Hoyer just for the sake of having an extra cornerback in Michael Jackson, but Jackson has played exceptionally well during camp and the Patriots will likely need the depth in the secondary this season. Pandemic aside, safeties like Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips could see a lot of time at linebacker and, with the loss of so many talented players in their front seven, New England should be expected to utilize a lot of nickel looks and perhaps even a significant amount of dime. If that’s what their personnel dictates they do, which it absolutely does with a very overwhelmingly clear strength at defensive back and an equally overwhelmingly clear weakness at linebacker, then that’s what Bill Belichick will do.

Michael Onwenu, Justin Herron and Justin Rohrwasser

These are three rookies I expect to end up on IR. It’s a pretty typical move the Patriots pull with young players who aren’t ready for the NFL yet. Particularly with Rohrwasser, who has very clearly been beaten out by Nick Folk for the starting kicker job.

Jakobi Meyers

I’d like to put Mohamed Sanu in this spot because he’s certainly not worth the money the Patriots can save by cutting him, but they’re not really scrounging for cap space at the moment and he’s still a better player than Meyers. The Patriots can’t afford to nickel and dime a position at which they quite frankly need all the help they can get. With the stellar play of Devin Ross, Gunner Olszewski and Damiere Byrd during camp, Meyers is the odd man out.

(EDIT: Should’ve gone with my gut…)

Derek Rivers

Rivers has had his chance to prove he belongs on the roster and hasn’t really made the most of it. According to reports, none of the edge rushers have looked good in camp. With the other players at his position being drafted more recently, it’s likely New England is willing to be more patient with those players than they will be with Rivers. He could find a spot if Bill Belichick decides to IR Anfernee Jennings, a trick referred to already in this article, but it’s pretty clear at this point Rivers isn’t NFL material.

JJ Taylor

Taylor has very obvious talent, but the Patriots running back position will prove to be too competitive for him to stick around. Some other NFL team will likely claim him rather quickly once he’s cut.

Photo: (Steven Senne – AP Photo)

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