So I made one of these earlier in the year, but here’s my volume 2. Let’s go:
Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, Kevin O’Connell
This is where I made my first big change. Cassel now gets the nod for me. Maybe Goots was more productive, but lets keep in mind that he was playing against 2nd and 3rd stringers. Cassel played against the starters of legitimate playoff teams. Now, he struggled to put points on the board, but, after the first game, played completely mistake free. Sure, he wasn’t flashy, but, with a good game plan and running game, he could get the job done. Goots gets traded for a conditional pick (6th or 7th round).
Running Backs: Laurence Maroney, Lamont Jordan, Kevin Faulk (suspended), Heath Evans
All signs are pointing towards the Patriots holding on to five, but for some reason, I don’t see it happening. Sammy Morris showed nothing special this preseason, so I think the Patriots might show him the door. Kevin Faulk is too valuable as a receiver and in pass protection. Hopefully BenJarvus will clear waivers so we can put him on the practice squad. But if not, the Patriots might consider keeping him.
Receivers: Randy Moss, Jabar Gaffney, Wes Welker, Chad Jackson, Kelley Washington, Matt Slater, Sam Aiken, Ray Ventrone
The Patriots could very well keep Sam Aiken here, and I think everyone wants them to keep Ray Ventrone here, who is an obvious fan favorite. Unfortunately, Ventrone probably won’t make it.
Back-on: After doing the final roundup, I counted only 51, so Aiken gets the nod here.
Update: With the Faulk situation, I give Ventrone a roster spot, although I still don’t think he’ll make it.
Tight Ends: Ben Watson, David Thomas
I really thought Marcus Pollard was going to make this team, but… obviously… not. Then, the Patriots cut Jonathan Stupar last night. So that leaves the question… will Stephen Spach make the roster? I say not, but I think he will be on speed-dial, just as Marcellus Rivers was last year. Poor. Marcellus. Rivers.
Offensive Line: Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Billy Yates, Nick Kazcur, Ross Hochstein, Wesley Britt, John Welbourn
I’m pretty sure these eight will make the squad. But the question for me is, with the loss of Ryan O’Callaghan, will the Patriots look to keep another tackle? If they do, John Welbourn would be a likely candidate to make the team, although the Pats could go hunting after final cuts.
Update: According to Mike Flynn’s agent, Flynn will not make the team. I’m going to give a spot to John Welbourn, but the Patriots might look towards a Todd Wade type of player.
Defensive Line: Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Mike Wright, Le Kevin Smith, Jarvis Green
With no true backup nose tackle, this group looks a little shaky. However, Smith, Green, Wright, and Seymour have all played inside before, so this group could work out okay. Titus Adams is one candidate that could be in the mix for this roster spot. Nevertheless, this is the best group of defensive lineman in the entire NFL. Period.
Linebackers: Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Jerod Mayo, Adalius Thomas, Shawn Crable, Pierre Woods, Vince Redd, Gary Guyton, Eric Alexander, Larry Izzo
The tough cut here is Victor Hobson, a guy who I thought was really going to make a difference this year. However, based on his status on the depth chart, I doubt he makes the team. Unfortunate, but true. The rookie free agents, Gary Guyton and Vince Redd, have both been great, and have shown too much promise to be released (and they would not clear waivers). Although I’m not a believer, there has been some speculation going around the net that Tedy Bruschi could be at risk of being cut. I thought I’d throw it out there, because its been talked about, but I sincerely doubt it.
Cornerbacks: Fernando Bryant, Ellis Hobbs, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, Lewis Sanders
This group is just yearning for Ty Law…. “we need physical, shutdown cornerback… please.” However, with the current personnel, this looks like the best group to me. The first three are locks. Wilhite will almost definitely make the team. But the real battle comes between Lewis Sanders and Mike Richardson, the two most physical corners on the Patriots roster. Both could make it, but I give Sanders the nod due to his good health and strong preseason play. Antwain Spann is also a tough cut, although I think he could have a serious shot at making the team. His play this preseason has been admireable.
Back-on: After doing the final count, I only had 51, so I make a surprise pick, by giving the unheralded Antwain Spann the pick here.
Safeties: Rodney Harrison, James Sanders, John Lynch, Brandon Meriweather, Antwain Spann
Could this group be the best group of four in the NFL? Time will tell, but on paper, this group is intimidating. All four are virtual roster locks. Spann is officially listed as a corner, but he plays primarily safety, so I’m putting him here. Matt Slater can also play safety.
Specialists: Stephen Gostkowski, Chris Hanson, Lonnie Paxton
No competition for any of these guys.
By the way, on a scary note, I put together this roster without looking at anything, not even a roster.