Projecting The Final 53

When the Patriots play the New York Giants on Thursday night, there will be some interesting battles taking place. With rosters cuts looming, players need to show what they have for New England, or another team down the road. One place to watch is the defensive line.

Projecting the Final 53
September 2, 2009

The New England Patriots have a number of tough decisions to make when the final roster cuts have to be turned in. Saturday at 6:00 pm EST[Edit: previously reported as 4pm] we'll find out which way the team decided to go. Here is a look at the players on the roster and who may, or may not, be around Sunday.


Quarterback: (3)
Tom Brady, Kevin O'Connell, Andrew Walter, Brian Hoyer

Who's In: Brady, Walter (pending trade), Hoyer
Who's Out: O'Connell (released)

[Editor's Note: O'Connell was just released at the time this list was assembled.] All three of the Patriots backups have struggled in both the preseason and in training camp. Walter, acquired August 3, isn't the solution and will have a hard time making the final roster. O'Connell has looked equally bad, and could be traded. It's likely the Patriots try to sneak Hoyer on the practice and acquire another QB via trade, or off waivers. A.J. Feely is the latest name to surface, though PI has confirmed the team is looking at other free agents, including Brian Griese.

Running Back: (5)
Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, Laurence Maroney, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Chris Taylor

Who's In: F. Taylor, Morris, Faulk, Maroney, Green-Ellis
Who's Out: C. Taylor

The Patriots are likely to keep 5 backs on the roster when the cuts come. Each has shown some skill, though Maroney is possibly a late decision if the team finds a situation where they can move him for a player they like. Chris Taylor is a late add in camp and too late to make the final cut.

Tight End: (3)
Chris Baker, Ben Watson, David Thomas, Alex Smith

Who's In: Baker, Watson, Thomas
Who's Out: Smith

The inconsistent performance of Ben Watson has made it tough to evaluate his progression over last season. Injuries and trouble making plays could be his undoing. More likely is the Patriots keep their former first round pick (Watson) and trade / release Smith who hasn't shown the development the team hoped for.

Wide Receiver: (6)
Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Greg Lewis, Joey Galloway, Sam Aiken, Ray Ventrone, Terrence Nunn, Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, Robert Ortiz

Who's in: Moss, Welker, Lewis, Galloway, Aiken, Edelman
Who's Out: Ventrone, Nunn

The Patriots keep their top four wideouts and add Aiken for his special teams play. The choice of Edelman over Ventrone comes to special teams contributions and Edelman's ability to fill in for Welker when the veteran isn't in the game. Nunn is a tough cut, but needed to show more in the preseason in order to knock someone else out of a spot.

Offensive Line: (9)
Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins, Stephen Neal, Matt Light, Nick Kaczur, Mark LeVoir, Billy Yates, Sebastian Vollmer, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Rich Ohrnberger, Wesley Britt, Ryan O'Callaghan, George Bussey

Who's In: Koppen, Mankins, Neal, Light, Kaczur, Vollmer, Ohrnberger, Yates, Wendell,
Who's Out: Britt, O'Callaghan, Bussey, Connolly
PUP: LeVoir

With the move of LeVoir to the PUP list, the Patriots can keep an extra tackle, and Ryan O'Callaghan gets the nod over Wesley Britt if the team keeps one of the pair, but numbers dictate a cut. . Bussey a 2009 Draft pick has PS eligibility; Connolly gets caught in a numbers game.


Defensive Line: (7)
Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Jarvis Green, Mike Wright, Ron Brace, Titus Adams, Myron Pryor, Darryl Richard, Stephen Williams

Who's In: Seymour, Wiolfork, Warren, Green, Wright, Brace, Pryor
Who's Out: Adams, Richard, Williams

Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Green, Wright and Brace are safe based on experience and their play. Adams, Pryor, Richard and Williams are on the bubble, with Pryor likely the only one of the group to make the final cut. Richard could make the practice squad. Williams is showing promise, but may not be enough to survive. Adams is the toughest of cuts. He's shown promise in each camp he's been in New England. A wide body who can put pressure on the QB, he gets beaten out by Brace.

Linebacker: (8)
Pierre Woods, Jerod Mayo, Adalius Thomas, Gary Guyton, Derrick Burgess, Tully Banta-Cain, Shawn Crable, Rob Ninkovich, Eric Alexander, Paris Lenon, Vinny Ciurciu, Tyrone McKenzie

Who's In: Woods, Mayo, Thomas, Guyton, Burgess, Crable, Alexander, Banta-Cain
Who's Out: Ciurciu, Lenon, Ninkovich,
PUP/IR : McKenzie

Woods, Mayo, Thomas, Guyton and Burgess are virtual locks. Guyton gets the nod over a retired Tedy Bruschi. Banta-Cain is on the bubble and could retain a spot should the team opt to lose one of the offensive linemen (likely). Ciurciu was a long shot to make the final roster. Ninkovich and Lenon are the tough choices here. One or other could supplant someone else on the roster in a mild surprise.

Cornerback / DB: (5)
Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, Darius Butler, Roderick Rogers, Herana-Daze Jones, Jamar Love

Who's In: Bodden, Springs, Wheatley, Wilhite, Butler
Who's Out: Rogers, Jones, Love

Rogers, Jones and Love were all 2009 free agent pickups. Love has practice squad eligibility, so he's likely headed there. Jones is an interesting prospect who is caught in the squeeze. Rogers was a long shot to make the final cut.

Safety: (4)
Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Patrick Chung, Matt Slater, Brandon McGowan,

Who's In: Meriweather, Sanders, Chung, Slater
Who's Out: McGowan

McGowan is a veteran safety, but the likelihood that he sticks depends on Slater's final outing. The Patriots like Slater's special teams contributions, despite some issues he's had. Chung gets the spot vacated when Rodney Harrison retired, though Sanders will start. Ventrone is listed as a safety though he plays WR more often.

Specialists: (3)
K Stephen Gostkowski, P Chris Hanson, LS Jake Ingram

Who's In: All

When the Patriots drafted Ingram, Nathan Hodel's time was limited. Hanson has some competition in camp, but those distractions were removed before competition became serious in the preseason. Gostkowski remains one of the better kickers in the league.

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