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

Quarterbacks - Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett (3)

Running Backs - Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley (4)

Wide Receivers – Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch,  Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater (6)

Tight Ends - Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Will Yeatman (3)

Offensive Line - Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Rich Ohrnberger, Ryan Wendall – (8)

Defensive Line - Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, Shaun Ellis, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Mike Wright – (6)

Defensive Line / Linebackers - Jermaine Cunningham, Andre Carter, Eric Moore, Mark Anderson, Rob Ninkovich – (5)

Linebackers - Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Dane Fletcher, Tracy White – (5)

Cornerbacks - Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Ras-I Dowling – (5)

Safeties - Pat Chung, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Sergio Brown, James Ihedigbo – (5)

Specialists - Stephen Gostkowski (k), Zoltan Mesko (P), Matt Katula (LS) – (3)

Projected to PUP List: Kevin Faulk, Marcus Cannon, Ron Brace

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. That’s why I slated him to PUP to start the season.
  • I really believe Will Yeatman has the inside track on Lee Smith to make the roster. Yeatman seems to offer more as a blocking tight-end and Smith’s ability to long snap is diminished if the team keeps Matt Katula. Ideally, I would have liked the team to keep Alge Crumpler, but it seems the Pats want to move in a different direction.
  • 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.
  • Every year there are surprise moves on the Patriots roster. This season, I could see Jeremy Ross, undrafted free agent from Cal, being just that. He has had a great couple weeks in camp but will certainly need more to crack the roster. Still, I believe Ross has talent and could very easily make the practice squad, giving him more time to develop.

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