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 РWes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch,  Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater (6)

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

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

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

Defensive Line / Linebackers РJermaine Cunningham, Andre Carter, Eric Moore, Mark Anderson, Rob Ninkovich Р(5)

Linebackers РJerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Dane Fletcher, Tracy White Р(5)

Cornerbacks РDevin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Ras-I Dowling Р(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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