The New England Patriots have officially survived roster cuts and are ready for the start of the regular season. The 53 man roster is set as the Patriots get ready to defend their Super Bowl title. While there could (and likely will) be a few moves between now and the start of the regular season, let’s take a quick look at the initial 53 man roster.
New England Patriots 53 Man Roster Instant Analysis, Takeaways
Quarterback (2) – Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham
Running Back (6) – Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, James Develin
Wide Receiver (7) – Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Matthew Slater, Gunner Olszewski
Tight End (2) – Ryan Izzo, Matt LaCosse (Ben Watson – suspended)
Offensive Line (8) – Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Ted Karras, Kenny Cunningham, Jermaine Eluemunor, Russell Bodine
Defensive Line (9) – Michael Bennett, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton, Adam Butler, Byron Cowart, Deatrich Wise, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Shilique Calhoun
Linebacker (5) – Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Elandon Roberts
Cornerback (5) – Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams
Safety (6) – Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Terrence Brooks, Nate Ebner, Obi Melifonwu
Special Teams (3) – Stephen Gostkowski, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona
The biggest surprise on the offensive side of the ball revolves around undrafted free agent Gunner Olszewski. Olszewski spent his collegiate career playing cornerback before transferring to wide receiver during camp. During the course of the offseason, Olszewski has gone from a complete afterthought to making the 53 man roster right out of camp. Olszewski should be the primary returner and has the ability to play wide receiver and cornerback in a pinch.
Perhaps the biggest surprise cut is Demaryius Thomas. Thomas made his preseason debut in Week Four and looked good while on the field. Even though he didn’t make the initial cut, look for him to come back before long. According to multiple reports, it sounds like the Patriots and Thomas are both interested in a reunion after a re-worked contract. Thomas won’t be exposed to waivers, so it would be a huge surprise if he’s not a Patriots come Week One.
Brian Hoyer is one of the better backups in the NFL, yet the Patriots clearly felt Jarrett Stidham was up for the job. The fourth-round rookie made some great throws throughout the preseason and appears ready for the backup duty. He’s still far from a finished product, but he should be able to carry this offense if Brady has to miss a week or two of action. Hopefully, the Patriots will never have to test that theory.
The Patriots placed starting center David Andrews on the injured reserve, so he’s ineligible to come back this season. In his absence, the Patriots will send out Ted Karras to handle starting duties. The Patriots had minimal offensive line depth just a week ago, so newly-acquired Kenny Cunningham, Jermaine Eluemunor, and Russell Bodine all made the roster.
The NFL has not been nice to Derek Rivers. After tearing his ACL in his rookie season, the defensive lineman spent the majority of his second season riding the bench. The former third-round pick had a chance to prove himself this offseason, but couldn’t separate from the pack. The Patriots put Rivers on the injured reserve, giving him one last chance to prove himself in 2020.
The Patriots might have the deepest linebacker core in all of football. All five players are capable of starting, and the unit should be among the league’s best barring a ridiculous amount of injuries.
Likewise, the secondary doesn’t have a single bad player. It’s interesting that the Patriots carried six safeties, as Obi Melifonwu hasn’t looked that great during the preseason. However, Melifonwu is a great athlete and Bill Belichick knows more about football than I do. If he can harness Melifonwu’s athletic potential, then New England might have the heir to Patrick Chung.
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