Patriots 53-man roster projections from Alex Barth and Matt Dolloff: Who you got?

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Patriots are in Foxboro for training camp, with the first padded practice less than two weeks away. So it's time to take a deep dive into the Patriots roster and try to figure out who makes the final 53.

So, instead of one roster projection, we have two. Our own Alex Barth and Matt Dolloff both put together Patriots roster projections, each with plenty of similarities. But there are some key differences, too, particularly at the bottom of the roster - and notably at the quarterback position.

Take a look at Alex and Matt's rosters below and vote in the poll at the bottom for whose group you prefer.

Alex Barth's Patriots Roster Projection

Quarterbacks (3)

Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer

Barth's Take: There’s going to be an overarching theme throughout my projection; I believe the Patriots are going to put a premium on players who have been with the team before due to the lack of preparation time this offseason. That factor combined with Cam Newton’s injury history keeps veteran Brian Hoyer as the third QB on the roster.

Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham headline the Patriots' quarterback competition in 2020. (Getty Images)
Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham headline the Patriots' quarterback competition for the 2020 roster. (Getty Images)

Wide Receivers (6)

Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Jeff Thomas

Barth's Take: Once again familiarity wins the day. I considered rolling with Marquise Lee (who has since opted out) or Byrd over Olszewski, but the fact that he’s probably their best backup slot option, can return kicks, and was here last year keeps him on the roster.

Running Backs (4)

Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris

Barth's Take: Newton and Stidham are both guys who will succeed by running plays primarily out of the shotgun. With less aspects of true under-center power sets in the offense, and a tight end in Dalton Keene who can flex into the backfield when needed, it could make Jakob Johnson expendable. He certainly made great strides last season, but he probably lands on the practice squad in 2020.

Sony Michel of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on October 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tight Ends (3)

Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Unknown Free Agent

Barth's Take: Ryan Izzo hasn’t proven in the last two years he can block at the level needed to earn a roster spot. Rashod Berry and Jake Burt are certainly interesting project players, but it’s hard to justify keeping a raw prospect when there’s no true TE1. Belichick has a history of either bringing in players that get cut by other teams towards the end of training camp, or trading day three draft picks for players on the edge of a roster. With tight end such an obvious need, it’s worth keeping a sharp eye on this year.

Offensive Line (9)

Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Yodny Cajuste, Hjalte Froholdt, Jermaine Eluemunor, Justin Herron, Michael Onwenu

Barth's Take: Offensive linemen are the least socially distanced of all the positions on the field, so keeping an extra body on the roster makes sense this year. Eluemunor did see some playing time last year, so he returns. Onwenu’s rare combination of size and athleticism gets him onto a roster that will likely be creative in the running game this year, and can maximize his skillset.

Isaiah Wynn of the New England Patriots looks on during the game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Isaiah Wynn of the New England Patriots looks on during the game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Defensive Line (6)

Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Deatrich Wise, Beau Allen

Barth's Take: I really liked Nick Coe at Auburn, and I like him with the Patriots. Still, there’s only so many spots, and he ended up as the 54th player on my roster. If he lands on the protected practice squad, he should compete for a spot in 2021. That being said, Deatrich Wise is in the final year of his contract and could be a trade candidate. If that happens, Coe should get on the team.

Linebackers (7)

Ja’Whaun Bentley, Brandon Copeland, Shilique Calhoun, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche, Cassh Maluia, De’Jon Harris

Barth's Take: There’s a lot of rookies here. A lot of rookies. Dont’a Hightower’s leadership would have been incredibly helpful, but instead it will be baptism by fire for Ja’Whaun Bentley both on the field and in the locker room. On the edge, Shilique Calhoun looked promising in limited reps last year, it should be interesting to see what he can do with an expanded role.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 22: Ja'Whaun Bentley #51 of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the preseason game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Ja'Whaun Bentley of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the preseason game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Cornerbacks (5)

Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams

Barth's Take: Why would this group change? Best cornerback unit in the league last year, and everybody is back. It’s a shame in some ways too, because D’Angelo Ross looked great in camp last year before getting hurt, and there’s a case to be made that Myles Bryant is their second best UDFA behind Thomas in terms of pure talent. The Patriots should hope those two stick on the practice squad.

The Patriots traded a conditional seventh-round pick for Michael Jackson over the weekend, but that doesn't exactly make him a roster spot. While he's an intriguing prospect, the team has so much depth at the position it will be hard for him to make the roster. More likely, he grabs one of the four protected practice squad spots, then competes for a job next year after Jason McCourty's contract has expired.

Safeties (5)

Devin McCourty, Terrence Brooks, Adrian Phillips, Cody Davis, Kyle Dugger

Barth's Take: Unlike the cornerback position, safety gets a bit more complicated. The Patriots will need to replace both Patrick Chung (opt out) and Duron Harmon (trade), with three candidates to fill those two spots (Davis is mostly a special teams player). This is a spot where we could likely see the Patriots bring in outside help at some point before the season, or possibly even have Myles Bryant switch positions.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 08: Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots reacts during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs in the game at Gillette Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots reacts during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs in the game at Gillette Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Special Teams (5)

Justin Rohrwasser, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona, Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel

Barth's Take: Brandon King is coming off of a pretty serious knee injury, and the team brought in logical replacements, signing Cody Davis and Adrian Phillips and drafting Cassh Maluia. I suspect they know something about King’s physical condition that we don’t.

Matt Dolloff's Patriots Roster Projection

Quarterbacks (2)

Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham

Dolloff's Take: I think Bill Belichick wants to maximize his depth at every position other than quarterback, so I say he sticks with just the two. Brian Hoyer may be a phone call away, anyway, now that he's going to be living in New England full-time and maybe won't play anywhere else. Jarrett Stidham believes he's ready to start this year, but Cam Newton will earn that job. If Stidham is ready to start, he's most certainly ready to be a reliable No. 2.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts in the first quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on September 12, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers reacts in the first quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on September 12, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Wide Receivers (6)

Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski, Damiere Byrd, Jeff Thomas

Dolloff's Take: Leaving Jakobi Meyers out in favor of Damiere Byrd is a tough decision to make. But ultimately, Meyers made last year's team because he was the best they had to work with at the time. Olszewski stays on for his value as a punt returner. Byrd also has return experience, but perhaps more importantly, he has experience catching passes from Cam Newton. Jeff Thomas' talent is legit, and as long as he stays healthy and simply shows up to work every day, he should be in.

Running Backs (4)

Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris

Dolloff's Take: In lockstep with Barth on this one. Undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor out of Arizona has a real chance to sneak onto the bottom of the roster, but here he's considered a prime candidate for the practice squad. Damien Harris should see significantly more time in his second season, with the rest playing their typical roles.

Aug 17, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) passes the ball to running back Damien Harris during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 17, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) passes the ball to running back Damien Harris during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tight Ends (3)

Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Jake Burt

Dolloff's Take: Also in lockstep with Barth (sort of) at tight end. Barth is going with a wild card at this position, but Boston College's Jake Burt, a Lynnfield, Mass. native, makes it in here. That may change if the team ends up signing Jordan Leggett, who came in for a visit recently. But the loss of fullback Dan Vitale and a general lack of depth gives Burt a real opportunity to make it as the hometown hero.

Offensive Line (8)

Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Yodny Cajuste, Hjalte Froholdt, Justin Herron, Dustin Woodard

Dolloff's Take: Unlike Barth's group, this one doesn't include either of the Patriots' two preseason acquisitions in 2019. Fresh blood rules, with 2019 draft picks Yodny Cajuste and Hjalte Froholdt taking on bigger roles (read: roles, period), Cajuste, in particular, projects right now as the starting right tackle. Herron seems like the kind of player who will win Bill Belichick over with his smarts and professionalism, while Woodard gives them a legitimate backup at center. Froholdt is your backup guard and beats out Michael Onwenu, who bubbles out here but could very well make the team, if not the practice squad.

Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Thuney (62) looks to block against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Thuney looks to block against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Defensive Line (7)

Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Deatrich Wise, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Beau Allen, Nick Coe

Dolloff's Take: The only difference between Barth's roster and this one is Nick Coe sneaking in. He has great potential as a pass-rusher and, especially if the Patriots play more of a 4-3 defense with their new-look front-seven, profiles physically as the kind of guy Belichick wants on the edge. Simon and Winovich function more like outside linebackers, but they're listed as D-linemen on the Patriots' website so they're listed here. Beau Allen should help shore up their run defense up the middle.

Linebackers (7)

Ja'Whaun Bentley, Brandon Copeland, Shilique Calhoun, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings, Cassh Maluia, De'Jon Harris

Dolloff's Take: Another positional group that Barth and I agree on, which is particularly interesting because we both have undrafted rookie De'Jon "Scoota" Harris making the team. His power and tackling make him a solid candidate to play inside for the Patriots defense, potentially an ideal replacement for the departed Elandon Roberts. They need all the ILBs they can get. Maluia makes the cut as a special teamer and reserve LB, with Calhoun sticking as an edge guy. Copeland gets a nod for having the most experience in the league of anyone at the position.

James Conner of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by John Simon of the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
James Conner of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by John Simon of the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Cornerbacks (5)

Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams

Dolloff's Take: Standard. The only question for this group going into the season is whether Joejuan Williams can take a step forward and start playing more of a significant role as a former second-round pick - regardless of whether he faces a suspension for conduct after his arrest earlier this year. Otherwise, this is perhaps the best CB group in the league with Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson with another year under his belt, Jason McCourty's veteran reliability, and Jonathan Jones' strong play in the slot. I'm leaving the newly acquired Michael Jackson off, for now, but he may have the inside track over others at the bottom of the roster due to the Pats spending draft capital to get him.

Safeties (5)

Devin McCourty, Terrence Brooks, Adrian Phillips, Cody Davis, Kyle Dugger

Dolloff's Take: This group was interesting with or without Patrick Chung, and gave rise to suspicions that Bill Belichick may have seen Chung's opt-out coming. Where were they going to fit all these guys? Well, Phillips can play a similar role to Chung as a box safety. Brooks was decent as a reserve safety and could have an expanded role without Duron Harmon in the mix. Cody Davis may be more of a special teamer than anything, but Bill will like his versatility and coachability. And then there's Kyle Dugger, a superlative athlete who may not need to contribute right away with the depth at this spot.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 01: Defensive back Kyle Dugger of Lenoir-Rhyne runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 29, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Defensive back Kyle Dugger of Lenoir-Rhyne runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 29, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Special Teams (6)

Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel, Brandon King, Justin Rohrwasser, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona

Dolloff's Take: Adam Jones will probably take a giant dump on my head over naming three specialists in addition to the kicker, punter, and long snapper. But Brandon Bolden opting out leaves a major ST slot open, which is why I think Brandon King stays as long as he's healthy. The combination of Matt Slater and Justin Bethel will be as stifling as any in the league when it comes to kick and punt coverage. It doesn't look like Rohrwasser will have any competition, while Bailey was as good as any punter in the league as a rookie.

Key Differences

-- Barth has the top-3 quarterbacks making the roster, while Dolloff leaves Brian Hoyer on the outside looking in.

-- Barth is keeping Jakobi Meyers in the fold at wide receiver, while Dolloff prefers Damiere Byrd.

-- Dolloff is sticking with just eight offensive linemen, with Barth adding an extra. Barth has ex-Michigan guard Michael Onwenu making the team.

-- Both defensive lines have the same six players topping the depth chart. But Dolloff adds a seventh to the mix with undrafted rookie Nick Coe.

-- Dolloff has Patriots veteran special teams cornerstone Brandon King making the squad after missing the entire 2019 season.

A New England Patriots helmet during the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
A New England Patriots helmet during the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Who You Got?

Whose projected roster do you like better, Barth's or Dolloff's? Vote in the poll below and let them known on Twitter @RealAlexBarth/@mattdolloff.

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