My first 53 man roster prediction for the Patriots 2011 season:

Quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett

Running Backs – Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley

Wide Receivers – Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch,  Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater

Tight Ends – Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Lee Smith

Offensive Line – Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Marcus Cannon, Rich Ohrnberger, Ryan Wendall

Defensive Line – Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, Shaun Ellis, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Mike Wright

Defensive Line / Linebackers – Jermaine Cunningham, Andre Carter, Eric Moore, Mark Anderson, Rob Ninkovich

Linebackers – Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Dane Fletcher, Tracy White

Cornerbacks – Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Ras-I Dowling

Safeties – Pat Chung, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Sergio Brown

Specialists – Stephen Gostkowski (k), Zoltan Mesko (P), Matt Katula (LS)

Roster Notes:

  • Not having Kevin Faulk on the roster was a tough decision for me but I am sure it will be an even tougher decison for the coaching staff. After a heartbreaking injury last season, I just cannot see the veteran RB making a strong enough recovery to contribute enough on the field to justify a roster spot. However, could his locker room and leadership keep him around? Absolutely, only time will tell. I know Patriots Nation will be rooting for him.
  • Keep an eye on undrafted free agent Jeff Tarpinian to sneak into the roster as a special teams specialist. His biggest competition will be veteran Tracy White.
  • The new kickoff rules won’t just cause more touchbacks throughout the season, it could also cause Brandon Tate a job. His development as a receiver is not where it needs to be in order for the third year wide-out to hold a roster spot.
  • If the Patriots can slip Markell Carter through waivers, I expect the 6th round draft pick to be on the practice squad.
  • Tough decison at Cornerback between Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite, I decided to go with Butler. I believe he has the potential to make a strong third year campaign after a tough 2010 season. With less pressure and time out of the spotlight, the CB might be able to help as a nickel or dime package defensive back.

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