Tag Archives: Patriots roster building

How Does the Patriots Roster, Post-Draft Shape Up?

Steve Balestrieri
April 29, 2019 at 9:19 am ET

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the books, the Patriots have added 10 players via the draft and the first group of undrafted free agents. Look for some movement among those, as those positions, at least initially tend to be in flux for the first week to 10 days after the draft.

The roster as it currently stands has 88 players, fullback Jakob Johnson is an international gateway program player and doesn’t count against the 90-man limit. He’ll be on the practice squad once the season starts.

At first glance, the team has a deep, strong, solid base, especially along the offensive line and at cornerback. Players in bold are draft picks. So, how is the team shaping up post draft? Let’s look at each position and where they may need to still look to add more depth this spring.

Quarterback: (4)

Tom Brady
Brian Hoyer
Jarrett Stidham
Danny Etling

Four quarterbacks are probably going to be one too many, even if Tom Brady decides to skip the voluntary workout OTAs. Etling would be the odd man out, they just invested a draft pick in Stidham, who along with Hoyer should see a ton of work this spring. This position is set for the year

Running Back: (5)

Sony Michel
James White
Rex Burkhead
Brandon Bolden
Damien Harris

With the addition of Harris, this takes an already good group and makes them better. Injuries last year hurt this position. So, the only question is, will they keep all five? Bolden was brought back for STs but can fill in with the odd carry here and there. Very solid, and versatile group of backs here.

Fullback: (2)

James Develin
Jakob Johnson **International Gateway Player** Doesn’t Count against 90 player limit

Johnson doesn’t count against the limit and should be on the practice squad in September. Develin is extremely valuable.

Wide Receiver: (13)

Julian Edelman
Josh Gordon (suspended)
Demaryius Thomas
Phillip Dorsett
N’Keal Harry
Matthew Slater
Bruce Ellington
Maurice Harris
Braxton Berrios
Damoun Patterson
Jakobi Meyers UDFA
Xavier Ubosi UDFA
Ryan Davis UDFA

Edelman and Harry begin the season as the #1-2 WRs on the roster, Dorsett as the #3. The team brought in Ellington and Harris earlier this spring. Demaryius Thomas will probably begin the year on PUP and we don’t know when we’ll see Gordon again.

Fans have been gaga over Berrios since last spring, now we’ll get to see if the optimism there is justified. Of the UDFAs, Meyers is intriguing and had a lot of production at NC State. He has good size at 6’2, 203 but doesn’t run well (4.63 time in the 40). Ubosi is also big (6’2, 217) and averaged 23.9 yards per catch but isn’t fast either (4.58 in the 40). Davis is a slot guy who caught 69 passes but most were extended handoffs.

With questions around both Thomas and Gordon’s availability this season, they’d do well to bring in another veteran to help take the heat off their top two. Or perhaps the team feels that Ellington (23 catches for the Lions) or Harris (28 catches for the Redskins) can add something to the offense.  

Tight End: (6)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Matt Lacosse
Jacob Hollister
Stephen Anderson
Ryan Izzo
Andrew Beck UDFA

Everyone, including here, expected the team to address tight end in the draft and probably early. But they didn’t draft one, only adding UDFA Andrew Beck from Texas. Beck is known more for his blocking than pass receiving (28 catches, 281 yards 2 TDs in 2018) as is Ryan Izzo.

The team is hoping Austin Seferian-Jenkins can find his game here in New England. Newcomer Matt Lacosse had 24 catches for the Broncos last year. Hollister has shown flashes but can’t stay healthy.

Will the team add another veteran tight end (the hype is on Kyle Rudolph) or decide that for 2019, they’ll be content with the production they can get from the current crop and keep them inside as blockers and put the onus elsewhere on the roster?

Offensive Line: (18)

LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Marcus Cannon
OL Ted Karras
OT Yodny Cajuste
OL Hjalte Froholdt
OL Brian Schwenke
OL James Ferentz
OT Cole Croston
OT Cedrick Lang
OL Jake Eldrenkamp
OT Ryker Mathews
OT Dan Skipper
OT Tyree St. Louis UDFA
OL Tyler Gauthier UDFA
OL Calvin Anderson UDFA

Huge positional group here. They draft Wynn to be the LT last year but he got hurt in camp. All the other starters return. They drafted Cajuste to be the RT of the future and he’ll be the swing tackle this year, backed up by Croston…right now.

Draft pick Froholdt is an intriguing guy who can play guard or center and may push Karras as the top interior backup. It is going to be tough to evaluate all of these guys this spring/summer. The roster should be set unless Wynn isn’t ready to go and then they may opt for another veteran tackle.

Defensive End/Edge

(7)Michael Bennett
John Simon
Deatrich Wise
Chase Winovich
Derek Rivers
Keionta Davis
Trent Harris

After losing Trey Flowers in FA, the team brought in Michael Bennett and just added Michigan’s Chase Winovich who brings the good speed and athleticism needed for the edge. In their scheme, he was kind of their ”designated pass rusher” opposite the TE on the weak side. He should get starter reps early. Simon and Wise and solid contributors.

What do the Patriots have in Rivers? It is Year 3 so, the time is now and the clock is ticking on him, Davis and Harris. They are essentially playing for one roster spot.

Interior Defensive Line: (7)

Lawrence Guy
Mike Pennel
Adam Butler
Byron Cowart
Ufomba Kamalu
Frank Herron
David Parry

Lawrence Guy is an underrated solid player. The Patriots picked up Pennel to solidify the middle and he’ll be a two-down starter. Butler is a good contributor. Cowart, the big kid from Maryland is a potential 5th round steal. He was highly regarded but flamed out in Auburn before having a really good season for the Terps. He and Kamalu have the versatility to play inside or outside.

Depending on how the young guys develop, they may later opt to bring in another veteran. Allen Bailey is still out there.

Linebacker: (8)

Kyle Van Noy
Dont’a Hightower
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Elandon Roberts
Christian Sam
Brandon King
Calvin Munson
Terez Hall UDFA

The team made no moves here other than bringing in Hall as an UDFA. The top three from last year (Van Noy, Hightower, and Roberts) return. Bentley impressed in the early going before getting hurt and Sam is an athletic type who was hurt in camp. King is a LB in name only. He’s a ST ace.

They should be set here unless the injury bug starts to hit.

Cornerback: (8)

Stephon Gilmore
JC Jackson
Jason McCourty
Jonathan Jones
Duke Dawson
Keion Crossen
JoeJuan Williams
Ken Webster

This is the deepest position on the team with eight (8) viable players who can step in and play.  The top four were the stalwarts from last year’s Super Bowl run. Crossen played a bit, Dawson was a 2nd round pick who got hurt and never saw the field.

They obviously liked Williams and moved up for him. Webster is an athletic freak who tested extremely well at the Combine. They can’t carry eight corners, so the obvious thought is they’ll try to trade some of these guys rather than just release them.

Safety: (8)

Devin McCourty
Patrick Chung
Duron Harmon
Obi Melifonwu
Terrence Brooks
Nate Ebner
A.J. Howard
Malik Gant UDFA

The Patriots didn’t add any during the draft and signed Gant as an UDFA. The top three return and now we’ll see if they can get out of  Melifonwu. Again, barring injury, this position is set for 2019.

Special Teams: (4)

K Stephen Gostkowski
LS Joe Cardona
P Ryan Allen
P Jake Bailey

The team re-signed Gostkowski and Allen but moved up in the draft to select Bailey. He and Allen should battle it out as the #1 punter. He has a strong leg and led the nation in hang time. He can also kickoff and serve as an emergency field goal kicker.

The initial roster here and we must remember it is only the end of April looks pretty strong and barring health concerns, they should be in really good shape come September.

The thinking here is they could really use another WR and TE but they set themselves up very well with an extremely solid draft in 2019. They’ll tinker with the roster and constantly look at ways at improving the team. As we’ve said many times, the team you see in April won’t look like the team you see in September.

But for the start of OTAs, the roster is looking pretty solid.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

New England Patriots News 3-13 and AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
March 13, 2016 at 3:00 am ET

Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 3-13 notes and what’s happening around the division.

Patriots Begin Free Agency typically: The team has always approached free agency in a controlled, responsible manner. While other teams massively overspend in free agency, the Patriots traditionally wait until the market calms down and then makes moves that reflect a closer value to the player.

At times Patriots fans get openly upset at Bill Belichick but how can one argue with his unparalleled success during the salary cap era? Seeing some of the contracts being handed out for mid-tier players was, as every year astounding.

While a few players the Patriots had an interest in, WRs Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, RBs Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and C.J. Anderson were lost in the process, in the long run, they saved themselves from a bad cap situation down the road.

That’s why re-doing the Brady deal, picking up Rob Gronkowski’s option and making smaller deals that build the depth of the team (Chris Hogan, Frank Kearse), make much better sense in the long run.

Hogan is actually a better fit in the Patriots system and has a bit more speed while about the same production while playing for a running team in Buffalo.

While much work remains to be done (RB, TE, CB, LB, DL), fans shouldn’t despair. Bill Belichick always builds his rosters slowly and with the team goals in mind, not a fantasy football roster. His success the past 15 years play out how well his philosophy works. A look at who the big spenders are in the opening of free agency year after year shows, desperation and over-spending rarely equals success.

Brady’s Contract Extension with Deflategate in Mind: The numbers for Tom Brady’s contract extension seem to play out quite favorably for the Pats QB with a possible suspension in mind. Brady was already signed thru the 2017 season but his new 2-year extension will pay him an additional $41 million dollars.

But the interesting thing about it is that his contract for both 2016 and 2017 pays him a salary of only $1 million dollars. Instead the Patriots converted $28 million into a signing bonus. While his cap hit will be $15 million both this year and next, his base salary remains extremely low.

If the NFL’s suspension for the Deflategate fiasco is reinstated, Brady’s loss of a 4-game paycheck would total around $250K instead of in the millions. His base salary of 2018 and 2019 jumps to $14 million, which if he’s still playing will probably be reduced as well.

For more on Brady’s contract see Miguel’s page:

Patriots Fire Back at Wells Report/Deflategate: Despite the court hearings to be already done last week, the Pats updated their rebuttal page of the entire Wells Report and Deflategate proceedings a few days ago.

In ripping the NFL, the team, tried to counter Judge Denny Chin’s statement that the “evidence of ball tampering was compelling if not overwhelming” by publishing “15 Myths about Deflategate” and attempting to show how weak the evidence concocted by the NFL truly is.

Click on the link above to read the entire page…it is long, but while few people outside of New England care at this point, it does make some great points.

Patriots Awarded Four Compensatory Draft Picks: The Patriots were waiting for the league to award the annual compensatory draft picks, awarded for players lost to free agency in 2015 and they will add four more picks in the 2016 NFL Draft.

During last year’s free agency, the Pats lost Darrelle Revis, Vince Wilfork, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Brandon Browner, Akeem Ayers and Jonathan Casillas.

The NFL announced comp picks Friday afternoon, and New England received a 3rd rounder (#96 overall) and three 6th round picks (#s 208, 214, 221).

The Patriots’ draft picks will be (for now):
2nd round: 60th overall
3rd round: 91st overall
3rd round: 96th overall
4th round: 127th overall
6th round: 196th overall
6th round: 208th overall
6th round: 214th overall
6th round: 221st overall
7th round: 243rd overall
7th round: 250th overall

The extra picks are important because, due to the Deflategate penalty, they’ll have no 1st round draft pick (#29 overall) and will have to hit on their 2nd and 3rd round selections.

East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Dolphins Make Some Interesting Moves: Miami under Mike Tannenbaum is beginning to look a lot like the Jets under his watch. They signed DE Mario Williams last week and while doing so, allowed Olivier Vernon to walk in free agency. Williams 31, and Cameron Wake 34 who is coming off a serious injury will be the Fins DEs in 2016.

Miami also swung a trade with Philadelphia bringing Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell from Philadelphia who was looking to jettison both player’s contracts. Although Miami re-did both deals after the trade was in place.

But the most curious move was to allow RB Lamar Miller to leave via free agency and only signing C.J. Anderson to an offer sheet. While Anderson is very talented, the offer sheet is one that Denver can match. If John Elway does match it now that they’ve traded for QB Mark Sanchez, the Dolphins will only have 2nd year back Jay Ajayi.

Jets Lose Ivory, Gain Forte, Fitz Talks Still Ongoing: The Jets were able to not only keep Bilal Powell, but added Matt Forte in free agency after losing Chris Ivory earlier in the week. But the talks with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick are reportedly not going well, with both sides still far apart.

While the Jets want Fitzpatrick back, they refuse and rightfully so to overpay Fitzpatrick like the ridiculous amounts the bar has been set this offseason. Currently, QBs are getting in the $16-18 million-dollar range. GM Mike Maccagnan is wise not to over-pay for a well-traveled 33-year old journeyman QB. And now they’re pushing the envelope a bit by hosting free agent QB Robert Griffin III. The team is much better off with Fitzpatrick and vice versa in the short term and eventually the two sides should come to the same solution.

It would seem with the trade of Sanchez to Denver, Fitzpatrick is out of options and should come to the realization that his best bet is suck it up and go back to where he won 10 games a year ago.

Bills Awarded Two Compensatory Picks, Lose Bradham/Hogan: The Buffalo Bills mainly stood pat during the opening days of free agency, having already cut ties with disgruntled DE Mario Williams and CB Leodis McKelvin. The team also lost WR Chris Hogan to the Patriots on a 3-year, $12 million-dollar Restricted free agent offer, and LB Nigel Bradham who signed a two-year deal with Philadelphia. Bradham spoke about his lack of fit in Rex Ryan’s defense as a major reason for leaving.

But the team was awarded a pair of compensatory picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, a 4th round pick (#139) and a 6th round pick (#218). This gives the Bills eight picks in the upcoming draft and plenty of flexibility to move around.

The Bills currently hold three picks in the first 80 selections.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.