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New England Patriots

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.

Quarterbacks

Cam Newton
Jarrett Stidham
Brian Hoyer

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.

Cam Newton tops the Patriots quarterback depth chart in our latest roster projection. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Cam Newton tops the Patriots quarterback depth chart in our latest roster projection. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Running Backs

Sony Michel
James White
Rex Burkhead
Damien Harris
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.

Damien Harris is a lock in our latest Patriots roster projection. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

Patriots running back Damien Harris rushes against Titans linebacker James Folson during the second half at Nissan Stadium. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

Wide Receivers

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

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.

Gunner Olszewski makes the cut in our latest Patriots roster projection, with a good chance to make an improvement over last season. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Gunner Olszewski of the New England Patriots makes a catch during training camp on August 26, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tight Ends

Devin Asiasi
Dalton Keene
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.

Despite being a rookie, Devin Asiasi tops a tenuous tight end depth chart in our latest Patriots roster projection. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

New England Patriots tight end Devin Asiasi steps on the field before the start of an NFL football training camp practice, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

Offensive Line

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

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.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 22: David Andrews #60 of the New England Patriots exits the field after 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)

David Andrews exits the field after the preseason game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2019. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Defensive Line

Lawrence Guy
Adam Butler
John Simon
Chase Winovich
Deatrich Wise
Byron Cowart

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.

Sep 15, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL: New England Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy reaches for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy reaches for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Linebackers

Ja’Whaun Bentley
Brandon Copeland
Shilique Calhoun
Anfernee Jennings
Josh Uche
Cassh Maluia

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.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 16: Ja'Whaun Bentley #51 of the New England Patriots waits on the field during their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on September 16, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Ja’Whaun Bentley of the New England Patriots waits on the field during their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 16, 2018. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Cornerbacks

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

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.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 26: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots arrives to Patriots Training camp with Offensive Coordinator Josh MlcDaniels at Gillette Stadium on August 26, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots arrives to training camp with offensive coordinator Josh MlcDaniels on August 26, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Safeties

Devin McCourty
Terrence Brooks
Adrian Phillips
Cody Davis
Kyle Dugger

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.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 18: Kyle Dugger #50 of the New England Patriots looks on during training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 18, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)

Kyle Dugger of the New England Patriots looks on during training camp on August 18, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)

Special Teams

Nick Folk
Jake Bailey
Joe Cardona
Matthew Slater

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.

Nick Folk walks on the field during a Patriots training camp practice, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

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.