The New England Patriots Two weeks into training camp and my first pre-season game not played, which makes it the perfect time for my way too early to show off a 53-player roster. Have you thought with my heart more than my head here? likely. Will it surprise you? We will probably.
But I decided to enjoy it, and make it look as close to real as possible. Well let’s go.
In (2): McJones, Billy Zappie
Directed by (1): Brian Hoyer
I think the newbie has already passed Brian Hoyer, and other places on the list are needed. I’d be shocked if Hoyer didn’t end up on the coaching staff, because he’s here to help Mac Jones. That’s what he’ll be doing this season, both on the 53-man squad and on the emergency roster.
V (4): Damien Harris, Ramonder Stevenson, Ty Montgomery, Pierre Strong
Puppy (1): James White
Directed by (2): JJ Taylor, Kevin Harris
There are no real surprises here, but I think JJ Taylor’s time is running out. It doesn’t bring the explosive power guys like Darren Sproulis did, and so I don’t think it makes the team beat a player like Ty Montgomery (who was actually more involved). Rookie Kevin Harris will likely be on the Damien Harris track for a red jersey this year, possibly on the coaching staff.
V (6): Nelson Agulor, Kendrick Bourne, Jacoby Myers, Devante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, Trey Nixon
Director (3): Josh Hammond, Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, Christian Wilkerson
If you’ve been listening to me or reading to me for the past couple of years, you know Trey Nixon would be on this list. I actually think he has a realistic chance of making the team this year. He’s had a great spring, and has been solid in training camp so far. Nelson Agulur remains so, because they do not get anything for it and its contract in the trade market. If they’re paying him anyway, he might as well be on the team.
In (3): Hunter Henry, Juno Smith, Dalton Kane
Directed by (2): Devin Isaias, Matt Sokol
Dalton Kane wasn’t able to stay healthy, but, if he could, I think he could be the narrow end/linebacker/h linebacker this offense is looking for, or at least the spelling Juno Smith if asked for he-she. Devin Asiasi, previously selected in the third round, is still calm, and I think his time in New England may be over sooner rather than later.
V (8): Trent Brown, Cole String, David Andrews, Michael Unino, Isaiah Wayne, Justin Heron, James Ferenc, Drew Degarlais
Puppy (2): Chasin Hines, Andrew Stoiber
Directed by (6): Yudney Cajost, Yasser Durant, Arlington Humbright, Bill Murray, Cody Rossi, William Sherman
We know what the start will look like, but I think three backups make sense. James Ferencs has the ability to play goalkeeper and center, Justin Heron is your swing style, and Drew DeGerlais has been good enough in camp that I would put the CFL top on this list over someone like Arlington Humbright or William Sherman. I think Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber may eventually outpace Desjarlais here, but it looks like they’ll start the season on a list that is physically unable to perform.
line of defense
In (6): Christian Barmore, Devon Goodshaw, Dietrich Weisz Jr., Lawrence Guy, Henry Anderson, LaBrian Ray
Outside (4): Carl Davis, Daniel Equally, Jeremiah Farms Jr., Sam Roberts
Karl Davis, Daniel Equal and Sam Roberts are all missing from the 53-man squad, but I think at least one of them – Roberts – will end up on the coaching staff. In the meantime, both Davis and Equal may be expendable due to the play of Henry Anderson and freelance rookie agent Brian Ray. The latter is a great player: talent was never the question with him, health was. If he can stay healthy, which he has so far, he may be able to break the rotation by the end of the year.
V (7): Matthew Godon, Gawawon Bentley, Raekwon McMillan, Mac Wilson Sr., Anvernee Jennings, Ronnie Perkins, Cameron McGron
Outsider (5): Josh O’Shea, Harvey Lange, Darcus Mitchell, Jahlani Tafaye, Nate Welland
This is not a typo: Josh O’Shea is not on my list. It was quiet in the camp, and he saw a lot of actors with the other agents. I think, at this point, a change of scenery might be the best thing for him and the team. Cameron McGron hasn’t done much in camp either, but with all the hype surrounding him this year, I’ve decided to keep him on the list, assuming he’s healthy. Jhelani Tafaye appeared to be seriously injured on Thursday, so there is a chance he will remain in New England but he goes to the injured reserve; This is all just speculation at this time.
In (7): Jalen Mills, Terrence Mitchell, Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones, Jack Jones, Malcolm Butler, Miles Bryant
Directed by (2): Shawn Wade, Googwan Williams
This is a deep unit, with plenty of speed and sportiness across the board. Although there is no real #1, it looks like all the players belong there and should be able to contribute this year. Galen Mills was the Patriots’ best player in camp, but Malcolm Butler was also building some momentum and could be ready to reclaim a full year.
V (5): Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Duger, Gabriel Peppers, Joshua Bledsoe
Directed by (2): Galen Elliott, Brad Hawkins
From top to bottom, this may be the most talented group in New England. I see the Patriots playing all five of their expected 53 players well this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see so many of them on the field at once.
In (5): Nick Falk, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona, Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel
Outside (4): Cody Davis, Brendan Schuller, Tristan Vizcaino, Jake Julian
Cody Davis may come as a slight surprise, but other than that the list looks just as expected. UDFA Brenden Schooler almost made this list, but the fact that he’ll be playing exclusively on kicks should allow the Patriots to sneak him into the coaching squad.
So, there you are. Will it be perfect? Obviously not, but I was able to keep the guys I really wanted, as well as make what I think is a fairly realistic starting list of 53 men representing Bill Belichick’s surprise annual move. This is a win for me.