- Dion Lewis (53)
- James White (53)
- Brandon Bolden (53)
- LaGarette Blount (53)
- James Develin (53)
- Donald Brown (Cut)
- DJ Foster (PS)
- Joey Iosefa (Cut)
- Tyler Gaffney (Cut)
I think Lewis heads this list but we might have to wait until the following season to see if he is the same player we saw at the start of the season last year. For this year we may only see an abridged version of his full skill set. Whilst he has made a lot of progress and looks almost ready to go, he is still on the PUP list after a week of camp.
White showed lots of talent last year but the reluctance by the coaching staff to run him up the middle, really pigeon-hole’s him into only being a 3rd down back. White has a lot of potential, and fans would be remiss to forget his regular season form and to only remember the Denver game where he struggled to catch the ball as an auxiliary wide receiver.
Bolden is a dependable backup and excellent special teamer who I feel is a lock to make the roster yet again this year. His versatility is his biggest strength, being able to catch, run outside and run inside.
The Patriots were prepared to let Blount leave as a Free Agent this year despite resigning him, which is strange, as many would consider him the Week 1 starter. It really shows that they were prepared to start the season without him if he were to have signed elsewhere. If a veteran becomes available I could see him being cut or at the very least marginalised to a backup role.
Devlin is one of the locker-room leaders, and unless Clay Harbor takes his spot by playing the H-Back role, he will be back again this year with his neck roll in tow.
Donald Brown is an interesting player. A former 1st round pick and a disappointment wherever he has been considering his draft status. At the same time he hasn’t been disastrous, and is a viable NFL running back. I would see him potentially being the next man up if any of the 4 running backs went down in training camp.
I think Foster will be kept around on the Practice Squad for his versatility alone, (able to play both RB and WR). Iosefa and Gaffney fall into the same category to Blount as players that were cut in the offseason but brought back at a later stage. It is interesting that Gaffney has been brought back again this year but he could be an early cut if he doesn’t perform in the contact based drills. Iosefa got some carries last year but I wouldn’t read too much into it. It is likely that he is gone by the time the team goes down to 75.
- Rob Gronkowski (53)
- Martellus Bennett (53)
- Clay Harbor (53)
- Bryce Williams (PS)
- AJ Derby (PS)
- Bear Pascoe (Cut)
- Steven Scheu (Cut)
- Michael Williams (IR)
Similar to the Quarterbacks, the Tight Ends really pick themselves. The biggest question is, how many will the Patriots carry on the roster? I am projecting 3 with a youngster or two on the Practice Squad to back up the 3 veterans. The reason behind this is, guys like Derby, Williams and Scheu have little value on the open market and could be stashed on the Practice Squad thereby freeing up a roster spot elsewhere.
Gronkowski and Bennett are obvious choices. The best Tight End in football is now paired with another legitimate starter in Bennett.
Harbor’s contract with its guaranteed money, means that unless he is awful he will be a part of the 53. A mini-win for this blog as he was a player at the start of free agency that we had predicted the Patriots would target. He will need to get healthy as he has yet to see the field in camp so far.
AJ Derby’s 2015 season was cut short by injury, it will be interesting to see if the former quarterback can recover and impress the coaching staff enough to land on the practice squad.
Bryce Williams has shown a lot of potential in training camp so far but will really need to convert it to on-field production when he gets his chance in the preseason games. I think Derby is ahead of him for now but we could see either one, if not both making the practice squad.
Pascoe was brought into camp late as a veteran camp body that really hasn’t been relevant since playing with the Giants in 2013. Scheu will face an uphill battle to make the Practice Squad as he has been (according to reports) the least impressive of all the Tight-End’s so far.
Williams’ season has unfortunately ended before it really began and has been placed on Injured Reserve. With the group in place now, he could be in for a fight to keep his roster spot next year and his injury could really be a stay of execution for the blocking specialist.