My first 53-man roster prediction for the Patriots 2012 season. Here’s how it breaks down before training camp opens:

Quarterbacks - Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett

Running Backs – Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Spencer Larsen

Wide Receivers – Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Matthew Slater, Julian Edelman, Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd

Tight Ends - Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Visanthe Shiancoe

Offensive Line - Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Brian Waters, Robert Gallery, Dan Koppen, Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Ryan Wendall

Defensive Line - Vince Wilfork, Chandler Jones, Kyle Love, Jonathan Fanene, Brandon Deaderick, Trevor Scott, Jake Bequette, Myron Pryor

Defensive End / Linebackers - Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Rob Ninkovich, Dane Fletcher, Bobby Carpenter, Jeff Tarpinian

Cornerbacks - Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Sterling Moore, Ras-I Dowling, Alfonzo Dennard, Marquice Cole

Safeties - Pat Chung, Tavon Wilson, Steve Gregory, James Ihedigbo

Specialists - Stephen Gostkowski (k), Zoltan Mesko (P), Danny Aiken (LS)

Roster Notes:

  • With the team releasing Joseph Addai on Wednesday afternoon, could the door be open for rookie tailback Brandon Bolden? Maybe, but I believe the team goes with versatile fullback Spencer Larsen.
  • While I believe Donte’ Stallworth could indeed land a roster spot, he will have to have a strong camp in order to stick around. Julian Edelman and Deion Branch are very much on the roster bubble.
  • With tight end Daniel Fells most likely to start the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list, I expect newly signed nine-year veteran Visanthe Shiancoe to take his place on the roster.
  • Defensive tackle Ron Brace is edged out by Myron Pryor to secure a spot on the defensive line. Gerard Warren could suit up at some point in the season, but I don’t expect him to be on the roster coming out of camp.
  • Jermaine Cunningham’s career in New England comes to an end. Special team’s ace Tracy White is replaced by players Bobby Carpenter and Jeff Tarpinian who offer more to the defensive side of the ball.
  • Alfonzo Dennard shows his skill set in camp despite his off the field issues and earns a roster spot. Marquice Cole stays on the roster for his ability on special teams.
  • Will Allen could edge out James Ihedigbo at the safety position, but he will have to show the ability to stay healthy in the coming days.

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