New England Patriots

UPDATE: After placing tight end Ryan Izzo on IR and claiming receivers Chad Hansen and Amara Darboh off waivers, the Patriots’ roster is now at 53 players.

The Patriots and 31 other teams had to cut their rosters down to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Saturday. But for the purposes of Saturday’s cutdown, the 53 is merely a maximum; it didn’t have to be exact. Hence, the Pats enter Sunday’s action with only 52 players.

And at that, rookie tight end Ryan Izzo is expected to end up on injured reserve. So we’re essentially looking at a roster of 51 players and two open spots, as the Patriots look toward Week 1 against the Houston Texans.

Some positions (receiver, tackle) are more likely than others to be bolstered in the coming days. There’s also the likelihood that someone who got cut on Saturday could be back as soon as Sunday afternoon. But make no mistake, the Patriots will most certainly have a full 53 by Sunday’s 2018 season opener.

Note that the roster is subject to change, and could within less than 24 hours. By the same token, the only changes are likely to come at the bottom of the roster, barring a surprise last-minute trade (and we all know we still can’t rule that out).

Additionally, Julian Edelman does not count toward the roster while he sits out the first four weeks to serve a suspension. So with all that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of the Patriots’ 52-man roster as of this writing.

Quarterbacks:

Tom Brady
Brian Hoyer

Analysis: Just as we boldly predicted all along. Per reports, the Patriots are going to try to move Danny Etling to the practice squad. If they want to do that, they shouldn’t have trouble.

Wide Receivers:

Chris Hogan
Phillip Dorsett
Cordarrelle Patterson
Chad Hansen
Amara Darboh
Matthew Slater

Analysis: Since Slater is almost exclusively a special teams player, the Patriots hit Saturday’s roster deadline with only three receivers for offensive purposes. So it would certainly behoove the Pats to add a receiver through waivers or free agency. Riley McCarron was a bit of a surprise cut, as he looked poised to seize a backup receiver/punt return role, but he could wind up on the practice squad.

Running Backs:

James White
Rex Burkhead
Sony Michel
Jeremy Hill
FB James Develin

Analysis: As suspected for the past few weeks, Mike Gillislee became the casualty of this group. Brandon Bolden also got cut. But there’s a chance that the Patriots have to place either Burkhead or Michel on IR or the PUP list to start the season, and then sign Bolden back. Bolden has long been a special teams mainstay and still has a good chance to continue in that role. Develin remains one of the best in the business at what he does.

Analysis:

Tight Ends:

Rob Gronkowski
Dwayne Allen
Jacob Hollister
Ryan Izzo

Analysis: Allen’s pay cut, which was essentially him handing some money over to Gronk, solidified his spot on the roster. Izzo is expected to free up another roster spot by going on IR. Hollister has an opportunity to carve out a bigger role in the offense in his second season.

Offensive Line:

LT Trent Brown
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Marcus Cannon
T LaAdrian Waddle
C/G Ted Karras

Analysis: It would be surprising if the Patriots began the season with only two backup offensive linemen. So they very well could add a tackle. As of right now, Waddle is both the backup left tackle and backup right tackle. Cole Croston was kind of a surprise release in this regard; Matt Tobin less so.

Defensive Line:

DE Trey Flowers
DE Adrian Clayborn
DE Deatrich Wise
DE Derek Rivers
DE Keionta Davis
DE Geneo Grissom
DT Lawrence Guy
DT Danny Shelton
DT Malcom Brown
DT Adam Butler

Analysis: Geneo Grissom held onto his spot as a core special teams player, in perhaps the only surprise move on the D-line. Malcom Brown is still on the roster, making the team over Vincent Valentine despite being subject to trade speculation during camp. Keionta Davis has been flashing over the course of the summer and has a nice opportunity in front of him after recovering from a neck injury in his rookie season.

Linebackers:

Dont’a Hightower
Kyle Van Noy
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Elandon Roberts
Nicholas Grigsby
Brandon King

Analysis: King stays on as a special teams mainstay, as does Grigsby, who appears to have overtaken the released Marquis Flowers for his spot. The Patriots had to make room at this position with the emergence of rookie Ja’Whaun Bentley. Elandon Roberts gets another chance to improve in his third NFL season.

Cornerbacks:

Stephon Gilmore
Eric Rowe
Duke Dawson
Jonathan Jones
J.C. Jackson
Keion Crossen

Analysis: Jackson made plays in man coverage all summer, culminating with his two-interception performance in the preseason finale. He becomes the 15th straight undrafted rookie to make the team. Crossen had an up-and-down preseason, but his speed and athleticism could make him an asset on special teams relatively quickly. Jonathan Jones appears to be in the lead to be the primary slot corner, with rookie Duke Dawson continuing to nurse an injury. For those wondering where the Pats’ young, up-and-coming talent is right now, this is a position worth looking at.

Safeties:

Devin McCourty
Patrick Chung
Duron Harmon
Nate Ebner
Jason McCourty

Analysis: The first four names were locks. The fifth is a surprise, just based on his usage. Jason McCourty has been getting a look at safety recently and it looks like he will, at the very least, take over the role that the recently traded Jordan Richards played.

Specialists:

K Stephen Gostkowski
P Ryan Allen
LS Joe Cardona

Analysis: No surprises here. Undrafted rookie Corey Bojorquez has a huge leg, but wasn’t consistent enough for the Patriots to consider him over Allen.


Can’t stress this enough … do not consider this as a concrete roster for the entire season. It’ll certainly change when Edelman returns, and you never know what could happen between now and Sunday of Week 1. But all in all, not a lot of shocking moves.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.