By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Now that the Patriots have a week of evaluation camp in the books, it’s easier to estimate how they feel about certain players. Who stepped up as the intensity increased? And who may have faded after a strong start?
Here’s an updated roster projection, taking stock of where things stand a week before the 53-man cutdown.
Changes from the first Patriots roster projection are in bold.
Out: Brian Lewerke
Like I said on my last roster projection, familiarity is key, and Brian Hoyer has more experience in the Patriots system than the other three quarterbacks combined. Plus, in the time of COVID, it makes sense to keep three QBs. I think that’s something that’ll be league-wide.
Jakob Johnson (FB)
Out: J.J. Taylor, Lamar Miller
With Devin Asiasi looking like a number one tight end in camp, the Patriots may not need to grab another TE in post-camp free agency. If that’s the case, it should re-open the door for Johnson, who has flashed in camp.
Lamar Miller could end up on IR, but it’s hard to see him making the team without any practice time.
As for J.J. Taylor, I think the Patriots really like him. However, they almost never trust rookie running backs due to ball security concerns, which happens to be Taylor’s biggest issue. Given that, it’s hard to imagine Bill Belichick using him much in 2020, so it’s hard to justify giving him a roster spot.
Out: Jakobi Meyers, Devin Ross, Quincy Adeboyejo, Isaiah Zuber, Andre Baccellia
Meyers has been hampered with an injury and hasn’t been on the field, and in that time Damiere Byrd has shown up in a big way. His rise in week 2 of camp coupled with what he can bring on special teams (kick returns) makes him a more attractive option than Meyers.
Free agent/trade addition
Out: Jake Burt, Rashod Berry, Ryan Izzo, Jake Burt, Paul Butler, Paul Quessenberry
Like I mentioned above, Asiasi has done enough to convince me he can be the TE1 in the Patriots offense. Still, they lack experience and depth, and like I mentioned in my last roster projection, I expect the team to be active during cutdown weekend and try to add a veteran who gets left off another team’s 53-man roster.
Out: Korey Cunningham, Ben Braden, Tyler Gauthier
Same group as my last projection. The Patriots usually keep eight offensive linemen, but because of COVID, depth is key.
Out: Beau Allen, Derek Rivers, Tashawn Bower, Bill Murray, Nick Thurman, Xavier Williams, Michael Barnett
It’s hard to see Beau Allen making the team if he can’t get on the field. He could end up on IR. Byron Cowart has stepped up in his absence, as one of the best defensive linemen in camp. He’ll fill into that backup nose tackle role.
Out: De’Jon Harris, Terez Hall
With Cassh Maluia showing out in a big way, it appears the Patriots have found a middle linebacker behind Ja’Whaun Bentley. Harris is a practice squad candidate, but he’s too redundant to Maluia to keep both on the roster.
Out: Michael Jackson, Myles Bryant, D’Angelo Ross
Michael Jackson feels like a lock for a protected practice squad spot, and will get his shot at the main roster next year when Jason McCourty and J.C. Jackson’s contracts are up. Joejuan Williams could end up being viewed as more of a safety.
The Patriots certainly have talent at safety, with Dugger being the best rookie in camp. Still, depth is a major concern, especially at free safety. I expect outside help coming here.
Out: Justin Rohrwasser, Brandon King
Bill Belichick seemed to indicate Friday that Nick Folk is the leader in the clubhouse for the kicker spot. Expect a case of the “Foxboro Flu” for Rohrwasser soon.
On The Bubble…
Here’s how the players who just made (or missed) the team would look in our latest Patriots roster projection.
Last 3 On: WR Damiere Byrd, G/C Hjalte Froholdt, FB Jakob Johnson
Last 3 Off: TE Ryan Izzo, WR Devin Ross, CB Michael Jackson
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.