Quarterback (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, Garrett Gilbert, Tom Brady**
Provided there is a huge swing in the suspension of Tom Brady, who is currently set to miss the first four games of the season, Jimmy G will be starting week 1 in Foxboro as the banners are raised against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Garrett Gilbert was a production machine in college and may be relied on as the sole backup to Jimmy G the first four weeks. It’s very possible the Pats would bring in a 3rd string back toward the end of training camp though.
Final Cut: None
Offensive Line (8): Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell, Tre Jackson, Shaq Mason, Cameron Fleming, Marcus Cannon
The Patriots will enter 2015 training camp with one of the more solidified offensive lines they have had in several years. The last 2 years the Pats spent a lot of draft capital to sure up the offensive line and hopefully it pays off. Jimmy G is going to need all the help he can get in the first starts of his career.
Final Cuts: Jordan Devey (PS), Josh Kline (PS)
Running Back (4): Jonas Gray, James White, Tyler Gaffney, Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount**
Really shaky group headed into Week 1, not a ton of high end talent at running back, but a lot of versatility. With Vereen and Ridley gone, reps are basically any mans to win throughout camp. Blount is out for week 1, but will be back week 2 to face the Bills. Travaris Cadet could make the week 1 roster but I think his contract makes him the most expendable.
Final Cuts: Travaris Cadet, Dion Lewis
Fullback (1): James Develin
I think Develin proved enough last year to earn a spot on the roster, at least to start the year. However, how the offense shapes up in camp will have a lot to do with this. Develin has no guarantees in the final year of his contract.
Final Cut: None
Wide Receiver (5): Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Brian Tyms
Not much changes from last year’s unit, Aaron Dobson has a huge training camp in store this year as he tries to fight his way back into roster relevancy after missing almost all of last year due to various injuries. If Tyms’ connection with Garoppolo continues this preseason he will stick for at least the first four weeks.
Final Cuts: Brandon Gibson, Josh Boyce (PS), Zach D’Orozio (PS)
Tight End (3): Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, AJ Derby
The Pats could end up keeping Wright on the roster and a lot of this projection will have to do with Derby’s work in training camp. Derby and Wright seem like they are a redundant piece, so I expect only one or the other to make the 53-man. If Wright gets the spot Pats will attempt to get Derby on the practice squad. Hooman has found a soft spot in BB’s heart the last couple years, but I’m hoping this is the end of that run, he just doesn’t produce and him and Develin are the same type of role player.
Final Cuts: Tim Wright, Michael Hoomanawanui, Fred Davis
Defensive Line (11): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Alan Branch, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Dominique Easley, Malcom Brown, Zach Moore, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers
Several of these players could also be listed under linebacker depending on the defensive front but for now they will all be placed under the DL. Just like the OL Bill Belichick the GM has invested enormous draft capital in this position the last couple of years. Big additions to watch in camp will be Sheard, Easley and Brown.
Final Cuts: Joe Vellano, Jake Bequette, Xzavier Dickinson (PS)
Linebackers (5): Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Matthew Wells
Hightower may start the season on the PUP depending on how his surgery recovery is progressing once August approaches, but as of right now, I’ll hope for the best and include him on the 53-man as he has taken over Mayo’s role as QB of the middle of the Patriots defense. Dane Fletcher and Matthew Wells offer more special teams value than value at the LB position, but for now we’ll keep both on board. Spikes sticks as a run-down specialist, something the Pats lacked last year.
Final Cut: Dane Fletcher
Cornerbacks (6): Logan Ryan, Bradley Fletcher, Malcolm Butler, Robert McClain, Darryl Roberts, Dax Swanson
With how limited this cornerback depth chart is in top end ability both Dax Swanson and Justin Green could find themselves with a roster spot. Swanson had a great training camp, much like Butler did, last year and could find his way into some playing time with a little more improvement. As everyone knows, this position in the most up in the air for the Patriots. Darryl Roberts is my sleeper pick for a big training camp.
Final Cuts: Justin Green (PS)
Safeties (4): Devin McCourty, Jordan Richards, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon
Jordan Richards’ selection in the 2015 draft should make the extremely underwhelming Tavon Wilson expendable. The unfortunate part is that Richards could be just as underwhelming, but I’ll hope for the best. Most likely pair to start the season will be Duron Harmon at strong safety and Devin McCourty at free safety. Ebner has some great special team value, but Richards and Matthew Wells can fill that void.
Final Cuts: Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner
SPECIAL TEAMS (4):
Stephen Gotskowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona, Matthew Slater
This is the same special teams core from the last few years, sans the addition of Navy long snapper Joe Cardona. hashtagChampionship.
Practice Squad: Justin Green (CB), Jimmy Jean (CB), Eric Patterson (CB), Xzavier Dickinson (DE/OLB), Josh Boyce (WR), Zach D’Orozio (WR), Chris Harper (WR) Jordan Devey (OL), Josh Kline (OL), David Andrews (OL)
**Player is suspended from play on opening day and therefore does not count toward the opening 53-man roster.