Good news for New England Patriots fans is football is just two weekends away. With this fact, as training camp starts to wind down, August begins to come to a close, and the team looks to put the final touches on the roster and gameplan, it seemed like a good time to update the 53-man roster. Cut day is coming for many and with a whole training camp full of reports on who's done well and who has disappointed, the picture is a lot clearer than last time for who will make it in New England and who won't.
Tight End (3)
Wide Receiver (6)
Left Tackle (1)
Left Guard (2)
Right Guard (2)
Right Tackle (2)
Left End (2)
Defensive Tackle (4)
Right End (2)
Outside Linebacker (4)
Inside Linebacker (3)
Michael Jackson Sr.
Long Snapper (1)
Reserve/PUP list (*1)
*does not count against final 53-man roster
Lamar Miller (Reserve/PUP candidate)
Jakobi Meyers (Reserve/PUP candidate)
* -moved to practice squad
These notable cuts were some of the last guys to miss the cut. Guys like Lamar Miller, who's very talented when healthy, hasn't even been in pads for the Patriots yet. In a year where the roster is very competitive and hard to make, New England cannot be stashing Miller on the final 53, taking on five runningbacks to start the season, and hoping he pans out. It's just not viable, as other quality players will miss the cut as of result.
Another guy who missed the final 53 who hasn't really been on the field this training camp is Jakobi Meyers. He probably would have made it had it not been for a phenomenal camp so far from another second-year receiver, Gunner Olszewski. Meyers, as stated before, along with Miller, both have solid cases to be placed on the PUP list, where Patriots would then have two quality skill position players stashed away to do what they want with. That would help in case of injury to any other skill position players, or it could add something a little different to the offense. Belichick already mentioned that the signing of Miller was for "depth." Adding both players to the Reserve/PUP list for safe keeping would line up with what Belichick stated for Miller and would make a lot of sense for the team. Meanwhile, Meyers had to go with the way Olszewski has been playing as of late.
Cody Davis was another player who was no pleasure to cut. However, there just was not enough space for him in a loaded secondary and a loaded special teams unit. While he was slated to replace Nate Ebner on special teams, Joejuan Williams has been spending some time with the safeties lately and has a lot of promise at that spot. Michael Jackson Sr. has also been another impressive secondary piece during camp and can play special teams as well. With those two having a lot of upside, it just didn't make sense to keep Davis around. Although, he would have been nice to have.
Brian Hoyer got the axe last time too. This team just has a lot of other spots where they need depth, carrying three quarterbacks this year just isn't possible. Hoyer has been probably the most familiar and in-charge of the offense during camp, however, Newton should be the starter. Along with that, Stidham has way more upside and potential than an aging Hoyer. Given that, Hoyer is the odd man out. Although the practice squad, as he is eligible this season to be on it, would be a great landing spot for the veteran quarterback.
If there was a biggest disappointment award of camp so far, Justin Rohrwasser would take the cake. He just hasn't been good enough to show he can be a kicker in the NFL yet. During Friday's practice he missed a 48-yard field goal to win the game. Instead, the scrimmage/game simulation ended in a measly 13-13 tie. Missing field goals has been almost a constant for Rohrwasser this summer. So much so that New England brought back a familiar face in Nick Folk to compete for the starting job. Rohrwasser just isn't ready yet, and the Patriots cannot possibly expect to roll into the regular season with him as the kicker. He might be safe spending a year on the practice squad, or even catching a case of the infamous "Foxboro Flu" that always seems to come around and plague some rookies in late August. Just know, wherever he gets stashed away this season he will not have a home on the final 53-man roster.
Speaking of the practice squad, some other notable names I would expect on there would be Jeff Thomas, Ben Braden, Justin Herron, Myles Bryant, J.J Taylor, Rashod Berry, Isaiah Zuber, and maybe Devin Ross. All of these players just mentioned have either made headlines during training camp or provide some important versatility/depth to the team. But in order to make the practice squad they must make it through waivers and then decide to re-sign with the Patriots after clearing waivers.
Now, we shift gears to some of the players who just barely made the team, starting with the aforementioned Olszewski. New England, towards the end of Wes Welker's career with the Patriots, passed the torch to Julian Edelman. Now, they can pass the torch from Edelman to Olszewski to be the new shifty, slot receiver.
Okay, maybe that is a little bit of an overreaction. Let's see Olszewski play in the slot in a real game before making lofty comparisons. However, training camp this year has had almost every media company commenting on how much he's improved since last season.
Another player to make the roster, who was a notable cut last time around, was Derek Rivers. He's a player who has also had a strong camp. His potential breakout year may come just in time as the Patriots need all the help and depth they can get on the front seven. Hopefully this can finally be Rivers' year that everyone has been waiting for since his draft day in 2017.
Two more players, Michael Jackson Sr. and Ryan Izzo were both cut on the last roster projection. But both played well enough and found consistent playing time in camp to potentially turn that fate around. Jackson will be able to play both corner and special teams. Izzo will likely be the third tight end and the only veteran among that group.
Xavier Williams was the final player to make the roster. While there hasn't been much buzz on him since his recent signing with the team, he is talented enough to be the fourth defensive tackle on the roster and provide versatility and depth along the defensive line. He is a quality and talented piece that should stick around.
This is our last crack at what the 53-man roster will look. The only true question mark, in my opinion, remains at left tackle, behind Isaiah Wynn. While it is a little late in the offseason to bring in another tackle off the free agent market, if a move remains for New England, getting a versatile, veteran tackle will be it. Someone like LaAdrian Waddle or Cordy Glenn would provide depth at both tackle spots and prevent the position from going totally awry given an injury or a need for a more talented right tackle. Another player would need to be cut for them to be signed, which would be Williams by my estimation.
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