With the release of three veterans I thought would make the team in my earlier projections, some real estate has been opened up for even more of a youth movement than expected this season.
I still think there will be more additions, at least at tight end, maybe at defensive end as well.
One big takeaway from the cuts of Will Smith, Tommy Kelly and James Anderson is that it looks like the Pats are truly ready to get away from using two space-eating defensive tackles, or really any resemblance to the 3-4 of old.
Kelly was irreplaceable in terms of the potential schematic flexibility he could give. Safe bet we now see a base nickel defense with a space-eater (Wilfork/Siliga) and a one-gapping DT (Jones/Vellano/Easley/Worthy).
QB (2) Brady, Garoppolo - I’ve taken Mallett off, I’ve seen enough of Garoppolo to think he would be okay and a much better fit if he got thrown into the fire as a rookie. Mallett has shown limited improvement and would require a full tweak of the offense.
RB (5) Ridley, Vereen, White, Develin, Bolden - Bolden slips on here, good versatile group even if there’s not a short-yardage ace. Mike Reiss speculated Ridley could be in trouble after a brief Game 3 appearance, I’m not ready to cut him yet, he’s still their most physical ball carrier.
WR (6) Edelman, Thompkins, Amendola, LaFell, Dobson, Slater - This seems like the group.
TE (2) Gronkowski, Hoomanawanui - Pencil in an addition here, I’ve even left them a roster spot.
C (2) Wendell, Stork - Maybe Stork develops over the season, but Wendell/Connolly starting makes the most sense.
G (3) Mankins, Connolly, Kline - Kline could see a lot of time this year as a swing backup, might even push Connolly back to center. Could also play some tight end.
T (4) Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, Fleming - athletic, versatile group that could see a touchdown catch this year playing tight end in jumbo goalline packages.
DE (4) Jones, Ninkovich, Buchanan, Moore - Not sold Moore isn’t headed to the PS, but for now this spot it his. Could go to a vet pickup. Is Buchanan ready to be a significant rotational DE? Huge question now that Smith is gone. Bequette still could sneak on because of lack of depth, but right now I think it’d be Moore.
DT (6) Wilfork, Easley, Jones, Siliga, Worthy, Vellano - Vellano and Worthy get a bump with Kelly/Smith gone.
LB(6) Hightower, Beauharnais, White, Mayo, Collins, Fleming - Morris and Davis go to the PS, while Fleming carves out a rotational role. Mayo/Collins don’t leave the field, Hightower rotates in a number of roles (Incl. pass rusher?).
CB (5) Revis, Arrington, Dennard, Butler, Ryan - deepest group in a while.
SS (2) Chung, Ebner - Chung expected to see time on early downs. Still wouldn’t mind keeping Tavon Wilson here considering Chung’s injury history.
FS (2) McCourty, Harmon - These two are the deep shell. McCourty won’t leave the field.
ST (3) Gostkowski, Allen, Aiken - Same as it ever was.
SUSPENDED - Browner, Tyms
Total players: 52 - (space for one external addition)
Created with Pats Picker: http://patspicker.patsfans.com