Bubble Watch: Predicting The Final 53

Predicting the final 53-man roster of the Patriots is always a challenge. There will be some tough cuts coming soon. Who's in and who's not.


* Logan Mankins has still not signed his free agent tender as of this writing. He is on the did not report list and therefore not subject to the roster limit.

OFFENSE (26)

Quarterbacks (2): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer

-- Brady looks like he's in midseason form already, so only one healthy body needs to back him up . Late round Draft pick Zac Robinson gets caught in numbers game.

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

The upset here could be Thomas Clayton supplanting Green-Ellis or possibly one of the higher profile vets. Chris Taylor a longshot from the start of camp.

Tight End (3): Rob Gronkowski, Alge Crumpler, Aaron Hernandez

-- Hernandez could play dual roles, including time at H-Back. Rob Myers and Carson Butler end up in the too many bodies at the position line.

Wide Receiver (6): Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Sam Aiken

-- Rod Owens, Buddy Farnham and Darnell Jenkins extremely unlikely to stick, though each did well to make a case for themselves. Possible upset could be at Aiken's spot. Matt Slater might find himself odd man out, though at S, not WR.

Offensive Line (10)*: Matt Light, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Sebastian Vollmer, Dan Connolly, Nick Kaczur, Rich Ohrnberger, Quinn Ojinnaka, Ted Larsen, Ryan Wendell

-- The ongoing saga with Logan Mankins has the final list still in flux. Connolly gets Mankins' spot, while Rich Ohrnberger, Ryan Wendell and Quinn Ojinnaka fight for the backup role. George Bussey, Eric Ghiaciuc, Thomas Welch out. Potential alternative could be one of the younger guys taking Ojinnaka's spot.

DEFENSE (24)

Defensive Line (6): Vince Wilfork, Gerard Warren, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick

-- Tough out for Damione Lewis here who joined the Patriots as a free agent. Kyle Love also a long shot. Could find his way onto the practice squad.

Linebackers (10): OLBs Tully Banta-Cain, Derrick Burgess, Jermaine Cunningham, Pierre Woods, Rob Ninkovich, Marques Murrell ILBs – Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, Brandon Spikes, Eric Alexander

-- Perhaps the toughest area to find cuts. There may (or may not) be room for Murrell and Tyrone McKenzie based upon numbers at other positions. Or one of them may knock out Woods, Ninkovich or Alexander. Dane Fletcher and Thomas Williams are longshots, but could land on the practice squad.

Cornerbacks (4): Darius Butler, Devin McCourty, Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley

-- Both Wilhite and Wheatley are on shaky ground here. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Kyle Arrington unseat one of them. DeAngelo Willingham keeps getting opportunities to stick with the team, but for some reason ends up odd man out.

Safeties (4): Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, James Sanders, Brandon McGowan

-- The upset pick here would be for someone to challenge McGowan as both Chung and Meriweather are virtual locks. Sergio Brown had a nice preseason finale, but It may be too late. Ross Ventrone – a virtual fan favorite – could land on the practice squad.

SPECIALISTS (3)

K Stephen Gostkowski, LS Jake Ingram, P Zoltan Mesko

-- Each player was Drafted by the Patriots in recent years. Gostkowski just re-upped with the team for a new four-year deal. Ingram filled in well for Loni Paxton who left for big free agent money (Broncos) and rookie Mesko has done well from camp through the preseason.

Top wildcards in the mix: Tyrone McKenzie, Matt Slater


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