Here’s my first prediction of what the Patriots’ opening day roster will look like. Keep in mind that it is just a prediction, and many of my predictions are pure speculation.
QB: 1. Tom Brady 2. Kevin O’Connell 3. Brian Hoyer
HB: 1. Laurence Maroney 2. Fred Taylor 3. Sammy Morris 4. Kevin Faulk 5. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
WR: 1. Randy Moss 2. Joey Galloway 3. Wes Welker (slot) 4. Greg Lewis 5. Sam Aiken
TE: 1. Ben Watson 2. Chris Baker 3. Alex Smith
T: 1. Matt Light 2. Nick Kazcur 3. Mark LeVoir 4. Sebastian Vollmer
G: 1. Logan Mankins 2. Stephen Neal 3. Russ Hochstein
C: 1. Dan Koppen 2. Rich Ohrnberger
DE: 1. Richard Seymour 2. Ty Warren 3. Mike Wright 4. Le Kevin Smith
NT: 1. Vince Wilfork 2. Ron Brace
OLB: 1. Adalius Thomas 2. Pierre Woods 3. Shawn Crable 4. Vince Redd
ILB: 1. Jerod Mayo 2. Tedy Bruschi 3. Paris Lenon 4. Gary Guyton 5. Eric Alexander
CB: 1. Leigh Bodden 2. Jonathan Wilhite 3. Shawn Springs 4. Darius Butler 5. Terrence Wheatley
SS: 1. James Sanders 2. Patrick Chung
FS: 1. Brandon Meriweather 2. Brandon McGowan 3. Ray Ventrone
K: 1. Stephen Gostkowski
P: 1. Chris Hanson
LS: 1. Nathan Hodel
PUP/IR: Brandon Tate, WR; Tyrone McKenzie, ILB;
Practice Squad: Myron Pryor, NT; Titus Adams, DL; Julian Edelman, WR; George Bussey, G/T; Eric Kettani, FB; Robert Ortiz, WR; Jamar Love, CB; Marcus McClinton, S
Tough Cuts: Tully Banta-Cain, OLB; Darryl Richard, DL; Antwain Spann, S;Vinny Ciurciu, ILB; Jarvis Green, DE; Mike Richardson, CB; David Thomas, TE; Ryan Wendell, G, Tank Williams, S; Billy Yates, G; Jake Ingram, LS; Matt Gutierrez, QB; Al Johnson, C/G; Matthew Slater, WR/S/ST
I thought I’d highlights on my thought process in shaping the roster:
- TBC doesn’t make the cut. It was down to him and Vince Redd, and I like Redd’s size and athleticism.
- Darryl Richard gets cut after a stiff competition with Le Kevin Smith and Jarvis Green. He gets claimed off waivers so Myron Pryor gets the practice squad spot instead.
- David Thomas loses the battle at tight end. I think the Patriots could opt to keep four, in which case, Thomas could make the team.
- Matt Slater loses out to Sam Aiken as the 5th receiver/special teams ace. If Slater shows good return ability, this could be switched.
- Al Johnson loses out to Russ Hochstein as the C/G backup. Why? Hochstein’s ability to be a lead blocker.
- Jarvis Green’s release was purely a salary cap move, as the Patriots have younger and cheaper options in Le Kevin Smith and Darryl Richard, and they recently re-signed Mike Wright to a big deal.
- I penciled in Jonathan Wilhite as the #2 cornerback. Why? After going back and watching tape on him, I just think he’s that good.
- Spann, Ciurciu, Tank Williams, and Yates are all tough cuts. There just wasn’t room on the roster for all of them.