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Thoughts on the Patriots Initial 53-man Roster, More Moves to Come

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
August 31, 2021 at 8:26 pm ET

Thoughts on the Patriots Initial 53-man Roster, More Moves to Come(PHOTO: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Aug 31, 2021 08:26
🕑 Read Time: 3 minutes

The Patriots have finalized their initial 53-man roster, and the word, initial is key here. As we say every year, the roster on September 1, will be vastly different come Thanksgiving. 

Right now the Patriots have one (1) QB, rookie Mac Jones. That won’t last very long. What we’d expect to happen is that once the roster deadline is past tomorrow, they’ll move WR N’Keal Harry to short-term IR and either A. bring back Brian Hoyer or B. bring in another veteran QB. My money is on Hoyer returning. 

Quarterback: 1

QB Mac Jones

The offense now belongs to (and only to) Jones. The excitement level for Week 1 is now very high as it should be. Jones has two weeks to prepare for Miami…and vice versa. 

Running Backs: 6

RB Damien Harris
RB James White
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
RB J.J. Taylor
RB Brandon Bolden
FB Jakob Johnson

No big surprises here, this is a deep and talented group. 

Damien Harris, of the New England Patriots, runs against the New York Giants. Sunday, August 29, 2021. USA Today photo

Wide Receivers: 5

WR Jakobi Meyers
WR Nelson Agholor
WR Kendrick Bourne
WR N’Keal Harry
WR Gunner Olszewski

The feeling here was that Olszewski, despite being an All-Pro PR last season could have been on the bubble with the way Taylor looked returning punts and Gunner’s inability to work himself into a WR role in Year 3. 

Harry will probably end up on short-term IR, Belichick talked Harry up quite a bit on Tuesday morning. Could this be sweetening the pot for a trade? I wouldn’t rule it out yet. I expect the Patriots will be scouring the waiver wire for some help here. 

Tight Ends: 3

TE Hunter Henry
TE Jonnu Smith
TE Devin Asiasi

The mild surprise here as the feeling here is that the team would carry four tight ends, especially with the injury situation with Henry. In the run-blocking game, they can use Jakob Johnson or Justin Herron as the extra blocker, but with Asiasi seemingly having the lights come on, they should have three viable options in the passing game. (imagine saying that the past two years).  

Offensive Line: 9

OT Isaiah Wynn
OT Trent Brown
G Shaq Mason
OL Mike Onwenu
C David Andrews
OL Ted Karras
OL Justin Herron
OL Yodny Cajuste
OL Yasir Durant

No big surprises here. The team just traded for Durant and finally healthy after three years, Cajuste has really stepped up his game. 

Defensive Line: 6

DT Davon Godchaux
DT Lawrence Guy
DT Christian Barmore
DT Carl Davis
DE Deatrich Wise
DL Henry Anderson

What a difference a year (and having a dedicated NT) makes. Adding Godchaux and Anderson in free agency and Barmore during the draft makes this group a definite strength as compared to a weakness last year. 

Matt Judon

Matthew Judon looks to be a great addition to the Patriots defense. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers: 9

LB Dont’a Hightower
LB Kyle Van Noy
OLB Matt Judon
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
LB Josh Uche
OLB Chase Winovich
OLB Ronnie Perkins
LB Harvey Langi
LB Brandon King

The only surprise here is that King after missing the last two years made it back on the roster. He’s a linebacker in name only, and just a special teams maven…and a good one. However, this group is arguably the best group the Patriots have had in a long, long time. The pass rush looks to be outstanding this season. 

Cornerbacks: 5

CB J.C. Jackson
CB Jonathan Jones
CB Jalen Mills
CB Joejuan Williams
CB Shaun Wade

The position looks so much better if Gilmore is on the active roster and looks thin and vulnerable when he is not. With Jackson holding down one side and Jones in the slot, who mans the other boundary corner? Mills? Wade? I prefer Mills inside or at safety. And while I like Wade and think he could become a very good corner, he’s a rookie. So, we’ll see how well they hold on during the first six games. However, a good pass rush can cover a lot of warts. 

Safety: 3

S Devin McCourty
S Kyle Dugger
S Adrian Phillips

While three seems a little light, Mills, and Davis can fill in here in a pinch, but all things being equal, I’d still like to see a 4th safety.

Special Teams: 6

K Quinn Nordin
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
ST Matthew Slater
ST Justin Bethel
ST Cody Davis

Quinn Nordin making the team was a surprise over Nick Folk, but the team must really like his upside and he does have a monster leg. Now he just needs to rein it in. Slater, Bethel, and Davis are all ST’s standouts, and listing them at a position is a disservice. 

Physically unable to perform PUP list:
QB Jarrett Stidham
CB Stephon Gilmore
LB Terez Hall
DT Byron Cowart

Non-football injury list:
S Joshuah Bledsoe
LB Cameron McGrone

Injured reserve:
LB Anfernee Jennings

Expect some movement here in the coming days. But for now here is the Patriots initial 53-man roster. 

We’re on to Miami… 

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Preseason
Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Cam Newton Damien Harris Dont'a Hightower James White Josh Uche Kyle Van Noy Mac Jones Matthew Judon N'Keal Harry New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Stephon Gilmore

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