A ‘Way Too Early’ Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection

We have our first, albeit blurry look at the 2019 Patriots roster following the draft.

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FOXBORO -- With seven rounds and 10 picks in the book, we now know the Patriots draft class of 2019. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth walk you through the highs and lows of the weekend, and what you can expect to see from the group this upcoming season.

As I’ve stated in the past, it never ends well trying to climb into the mind of Bill Belichick. That being said, we have our first, albeit blurry look at the 2019 Patriots roster following the draft. There is still quite a bit of time before the Patriots have to cut their roster down to 53 players, and a lot will happen between now and then. With a number of positional battles looming this summer, here’s a look at how the roster breaks down right now…

NOTE: Players in ITALICS are rookies

1Quarterback (2)

FOXBORO -- For the second year in a row, the Patriots invest draft capital in an SEC quarterback, taking Auburn signal-caller Jarrett Stidham in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Is he the next backup to Tom Brady, or a future starter? Evan Lazar and Alex Barth look at the short and long term ramifications of the Patriots latest QB pick.

Tom Brady

Jarrett Stidham

—CUT—

Brian Hoyer

Danny Etling

I think in a perfect world, the Patriots would love to keep three quarterbacks on the roster. However, injuries during camp/the preseason are going to leave some teams desperate for a quarterback, and Hoyer is a perfect trade candidate. Etling was gone the second they drafted Stidham.

2Running Back (5)

FOXBORO -- In perhaps their most surprising move of the 2019 NFL Draft so far, the Patriots used one of their third round picks on Alabama running back Damien Harris. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth discuss where Harris fits in the Patriots offense, and why fans should pay more attention to the running backs this upcoming season.

Sony Michel

James White

Damien Harris

Brandon Bolden

James Develin (FB)

—CUT—

Rex Burkhead

Nick Brossette

Jakob Johnson*

Drafting Damien Harris perfectly rounds out the Patriots backfield, they have a guy for every situation. They’ve had that set-up at times for the last two years, but struggled to field it with consistency due Burkhead’s inability to stay on the field. Plus, in addition to what he brings offensively, Harris had plenty of special teams experience at Alabama. That coupled with an easy-out contract makes Burkhead expendable.

*As a member of the NFL’s International Pathway Program, the Patriots can keep Johnson on the roster without him counting against the 90-man total, or the 10-man practice squad.

3Wide Receiver (6)

FOXBORO -- For the first time since 2000, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots drafted a WR in the first round. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth break down the selection of N'Keal Harry, and what fans can expect from him in 2019 and beyond.

Julian Edelman

Phillip Dorsett

N’Keal Harry

Braxton Berrios

Jakobi Myers

Matthew Slater

—CUT—

Demaryius Thomas

Bruce Ellington

Maurice Harris

Damoun Patterson

Xavier Ubosi

Ryan Davis

Josh Gordon*

The Patriots not taking a slot receiver OR kick returner during the draft tells me they have a lot of faith in Braxton Berrios, he could be in for a big year. In addition, UDFA Jakobi Myers is an intriguing slot prospect whose size could earn him some special teams snaps, I think he sneaks on the roster early in the season. Part of the reason there is room for him is that even though he is a ‘fast healer’, I don’t see Demaryius Thomas being ready (to the Patriots standards) to start the season. UDFA Ryan Davis is a prime practice squad candidate. The Auburn product is very raw, but has NFL upside as a receiver and punt returner.

*All indications are Josh Gordon will be suspended to start the season, so we’ll leave him off the initial 53-man roster

4Tight End (3)

FOXBORO -- Following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, may expected tight end to be one of the main positions the Patriots would focus on in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, the Patriots went all seven rounds without selecting one player at the position. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth do their best to explain why the Patriots made that decision, and what else they can do to address the position.

Matt LaCosse

Stephen Anderson

Ryan Izzo

—CUT—

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Andrew Beck

To me, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the classic case of the Patriots bringing in a former high draft pick who failed to live up to the hype, to see if there is anything left. Jenkins has only played more than 10 games once (13 in 2017) and has only caught more than 21 passes in a season once (50 in 2017). I don’t believe he’s done enough for the Patriots to trust him. On the other hand, Stephen Anderson is a candidate for a breakout year. Bill Belichick spoke glowingly of him a few times last season when he was on the practice squad, and he already has a year in the system.

5Offensive Line (8)

FOXBORO -- The Patriots rounded out their day 2 picks with West Virginia tackle Yodny Cajuste. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth discuss how he fits in the Patriots offensive system.

Isaiah Wynn

Joe Thuney

David Andrews

Shaq Mason

Marcus Cannon

Ted Karras

Yodny Cajuste

Hjalte Froholdt

—CUT—

Cole Croston

James Ferentz

Brian Schwenke

Jake Eldrenkamp

Cedrick Lang

Ryker Matthews

Dan Skipper

Calvin Anderson

Tyree St. Louis

Tyler Gauthier

The same core group returns from last year, with Isaiah Wynn returning from injury to replace Trent Brown. The pair of lineman draft picks round things out. The offensive line was among the best in the league last year (shoutout Scar), so no need to change much. That being said, if Ted Karras has a shaky camp, he could find his roster spot in jeopardy given he’s on the least year of his contract with no dead money.

6Defensive Tackle (3)

Lawrence Guy

Adam Butler

David Parry

—CUT—

Frank Herrson

Mike Pennel

Keeping it light here because it looks like the Patriots will be a little more populated than usual on the edge. Keep an eye out for a season three jump from Adam Butler.

7Defensive End (7)

FOXBORO -- Its almost as if Bill Belichick has been listening all these years. When the Patriots took Michigan edge rusher Chase Winovich in the third round of the NFL Draft, fans instantly noticed he fits the mold of the 'classic' Patriots player they've been talking about in the Belichick era. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth break down why he will be a great fit in New England

Michael Bennett

Ufomba Kamalu

Derek Rivers

John Simon

Deatrich Wise

Chase Winovich

Byron Cowart

—CUT—

Trent Harris

Keionta Davis

It’s hard to justify keeping 7 defensive ends on the roster, but it’s even harder justifying letting go of any of the guys on this list. Even Keionta Davis, who was on the roster last season, is a tough cut. If this position feels a little too deep, Ufomba Kamalu is probably the first name off. However, as they made clear in the draft, the Patriots are emphasizing size this year, and Kamalu is a rare combination of size, speed, and strength that the NFL is trending towards.

8Linebacker (5)

Ja’Whaun Bentley

Dont’a Hightower

Christian Sam

Elandon Roberts

Kyle Van Noy

—CUT—

Brandon King

Calvin Munson

Terez Hall

Similar group to last year, with Christian Sam returning from injury. The 2019 Patriots linebacker class will be good, but they really have a chance to really be great; that chance hinging on how well Ja’Whaun Bentley returns from an injury that cut short his very promising rookie year. A lot of people will scoff at King being left off but 1) the Patriots drafted a number of players who will be able to contribute on special teams and offense/defense and 2) if Brandon Bolden wasn’t safe last year, nobody is. UDFA Terez Hall has some fun tape, he is a clear-cut practice squad candidate, who could be in the conversation for a roster spot if injuries pile up in camp.

9Cornerback (6)

FOXBORO -- With their second pick of the draft, the Patriots added some serious size in their secondary, with 6'4 cornerback Joejuan Williams. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth break down the multiple ways the Patriots can use him, and how he fits with the other corners on the roster.

Stephon Gilmore

J.C. Jackson

Jonathan Jones

Jason McCourty

Keion Crossen

Joejuan Williams

—CUT—

Ken Webster

This is setting up to be the Patriots strongest positional group, with all of the big names returning. There is a chance the Patriots begin transitioning Williams to safety, but we’ll call him a corner for now. Ken Webster narrowly misses the roster; he’ll be battling one-on-one with Keion Crossen for a spot, and Crossen’s experience gives him the edge. Don’t be surprised if Webster ends up on the practice squad.

10Safety (5)

Devin McCourty

Pat Chung

Duron Harmon

Duke Dawson*

Nate Ebner

—CUT—

Terrence Brooks

A.J. Howard

Obi Melifonwu

Malik Grant

Obi Melifonwu joined the Patriots mid-season last year, but had trouble seeing the field. That on top of the Patriots drafting a player with a similar profile in Williams leaves him on the outside looking in. Also giving the core group a run for their money will be UDFA Malik Grant, who some people gave as high as a 5th round grade.

*Duke Dawson is included with this group because he was listed as a safety on all official team materials last season.

11Special Teams (3)

FOXBORO -- When the Patriots traded up in the fifth round, it seemed certain they would take a TE. Instead, they surprised everybody by drafting Stanford punter Jake Bailey. Why go special teams to early? And why take a punter weeks after re-signing Super Bowl hero Ryan Allen? Evan Lazar and Alex Barth attempt to answer these questions.

Stephen Gostkowski

Ryan Allen

Joe Cardona

—CUT—

Jake Bailey

Ryan Allen beat out the punter competition last year, was a borderline-MVP in the Super Bowl, and I believe that hot streak will continue and he’ll beat out the competition again. Still, with Allen on a one-year deal, expect the Patriots to try and sneak Bailey onto the practice squad. He has the potential to be a real weapon.

12Last 3 On/First 3 Off

Last 3 On:

Ufomba Kamalu

David Parry

Jakobi Myers

First 3 Off:

Brandon King

Brian Hoyer

Malik Grant

One more note for those trying to put their own roster together. 2013 was the last time every Patriots draft pick made the 53-man roster (7 picks). It also happened in 2008 (7 picks), 2002 (6 picks).