Accountability check on final Patriots roster projection

The New England Patriots set their initial 53-man roster on Saturday and let’s do an “accountability check” on how the roster matches with my final projection.

QUARTERBACKS (2): Tom Brady*, Jimmy GaroppoloJacoby Brissett

Nailed it. This was a slam dunk, sort of like the top of a mock draft when you already know the picks. I also think the Patriots might find a young quarterback they like to add to the practice squad for the first four weeks while Tom Brady serves a suspension. (2 hits)

RUNNING BACKS (4): LeGarrette BlountJames WhiteBrandon BoldenD.J. Foster

Nailed it. Foster’s strong preseason finale clinched it, with the only question if Tyler Gaffney had done enough to stick. Maybe he’s back on the practice squad. (4 hits/6 overall)

FULLBACKS (1): James Develin

Nailed it. As straight-forward as the playing style of the fullback himself. (1 hit/7 overall)

WIDE RECEIVERS (4): Julian EdelmanChris HoganDanny AmendolaMalcolm Mitchell

Nailed it. This was unconventional but no one outside of the top four had played well enough to earn a spot, so why force it when it’s not there? (4 hits/11 overall)

TIGHT ENDS (4): Rob GronkowskiMartellus Bennett, Clay HarborAJ Derby

Missed on Harbor. In retracing my steps, I think I underestimated how much Bill Belichick and special teams coach Joe Judge valued his work in the kicking game. Going to have to study the fourth-down film a little closer. (3 hits/14 overall)

OFFENSIVE LINE (10): Nate SolderMarcus CannonJoe ThuneyDavid AndrewsJonathan CooperShaq MasonJosh KlineCameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle, Ted Karras

Missed on Waddle and Karras making the roster, while putting Chris Barker on. In retracing steps, this was a toss-up for me on Barker vs. Karras and I was swayed by Barker’s early playing time the last two preseason games, thinking that perhaps the club felt he was more game-ready than Karras early in the season. On Waddle, he might have been saved by Nate Solder’s left hamstring injury in the preseason finale. (8 hits/22 overall)

DEFENSIVE TACKLES (4): Malcom BrownAlan BranchVincent ValentineAnthony Johnson

Nailed it. Pretty straight-forward as Johnson was one of the surprising stories of training camp and takes over the Dominique Easley role as an interior sub rusher. (4 hits/26 overall)

DEFENSIVE ENDS (4): Rob Ninkovich*, Jabaal SheardChris LongShea McClellinTrey Flowers

Missed on keeping Geneo Grissom and Rufus Johnson. Grissom’s role as a core special teams player swayed the vote in his favor in my projection, while I thought Johnson added important depth with Sheard and McClellin coming back from injuries. If Grissom clears waivers, he could still be back. (4 hits/30 overall)

LINEBACKERS (6): Jamie CollinsDont’a HightowerJonathan FreenyBarkevious MingoBrandon King, Elandon Roberts

Missed on Roberts, choosing fellow linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill over him. Roberts is undersized, but seems to have a combination of intelligence, instincts and good tackling fundamentals that the coaching staff wants to make sure it has a chance to work with in 2016, which ties to the decision to keep him on the initial 53-man roster. But Grugier-Hill looked like a core special teams player and I think he has a decent chance of being claimed on waivers, specifically by a 4-3 team who favors smaller linebackers (Seattle could be a nice fit). (5 hits/35 overall) 

CORNERBACKS (5): Malcolm ButlerLogan RyanCyrus JonesJustin ColemanJonathan Jones

Missed on Jones beating out fellow undrafted cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc. Jones was clearly a step ahead on special teams, as he was one of the more impressive players I watched this preseason when matching up against opposing gunners. He runs very well. I gave LeBlanc the nod because I thought he was a cut above on D. (4 hits/39 overall)

SAFETIES (5): Devin McCourtyPatrick ChungDuron HarmonJordan RichardsNate Ebner

Nailed it. Much like the quarterbacks, this one was straight-forward. (5 hits/44 overall)

SPECIALISTS (4): P Ryan Allen, LS Joe Cardona, K Stephen GostkowskiMatthew Slater

Nailed it. Easy pickings. (4 hits/48 overall)


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