2020 New England Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection 2.0
Since there was reports that surfaced on Thursday that NFL teams may not be able to enter training camp with a 90-man roster because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it felt like a good time to release or second edition of our 53-man roster projections for the 2020 season.
While overall this roster projection is very similar to the first one we rolled out in early May, the arrival of quarterback Cam Newton means a player at another position had to be cut.
Let's go over our roster projection:
- Rex Burkhead
- Matt LaCosse
- Jakobi Meyers
- Jakob Johnson**
- Shilique Calhoun
- Derek Rivers
- Ryan Izzo
- Gunner Olszewski
- Brandon King
** - newly cut because of Cam Newton signing
It would make a lot of sense for the Patriots to keep three quarterbacks on the roster now that Cam Newton is in New England. In the event that he gets hurt or doesn't work out, the team needs multiple options to keep afloat during the 2020 season. Because of that, Newton, Stidham and Hoyer all make the roster, with Hoyer being the one QB put into question because of Newton's arrival.
At some point the Patriots need to utilize Damien Harris, who was a great value pick in last year's draft. Because Sony Michel and James White are not going anywhere (at least not this year) and Brandon Bolden is a pivotal special teams player, Burkhead is the odd man out in the backfield.
New England doesn't need to carry three tight ends, especially since they drafted two in this year's draft, so LaCosse -- who has not proved to be a very useful piece to the offense -- will be cut.
There aren't just one or two UDFAs that will make the roster, but three. Those players are wideout Will Hastings, defensive lineman Nick Coe, and linebacker De'Jon "Skuta" Harris. Hastings could be the potential successor to Julian Edelman as the primary slot receiver in New England's offense. Coe has all the physical tools, but what is going on in between his ears caused him to not be selected in the draft. My guess is he proves during the preseason he has what it takes to buy into the Patriot way. Harris can help out an inside linebacker grouping that lost Elandon Roberts this offseason and outside of Ja'Whaun Bentley and Dont'a Hightower does not provide much upside.
Keeping quarterback J'Mar Smith isn't possible because of Cam Newton's arrival. However, if New England can put him on the practice squad and keep him there for the season, he would be a valuable asset during practice as a dual-threat player under center.
Because Danny Vitale brings so much versatility to the fullback position, there isn't really a need to keep Jakob Johnson on the roster. But Johnson would be a prime candidate to be on the practice squad as insurance for Vitale, and he would not count towards the 12 players on the squad because he is part of the NFL's International Pathway Program.
Where did I go wrong and which ones did I ace? Feel free to comment below.