Breaking down the Patriots 53-man roster

We break down the Patriots roster and share our thoughts on each position. Who made the roster and why? 

Carrying 11 offensive lineman has to be some kind of an NFL record. It speaks to the current state of affairs with this unit. 

Otherwise, there were no real surprises with who got cut and who made the roster. 

Quarterback: (1): Mac Jones

Thoughts- The Patriots cutting Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham was surprising. Both could be back on the practice squad but don’t be surprised if the Patriots go the veteran route as well. Mac is firmly entrenched as the starter in 2023. It was never a competition. Jones was the starter from the start and releasing Zappe only reaffirms that. 

Running Back (2): Rhamondre Stevenson, Ezekiel Elliott 

Thoughts- Surprising that they are only carrying two backs but chances are both J.J Taylor and Kevin Harris could be back on the practice squad. A veteran addition via trade or free agency is also a possibility. Stevenson and Elliott will eat up the bulk of the carries so this is not a pressing need for the Patriots. A third back would give them depth but they will also get Kendrick Bourne and Demario Douglas involved in the run game as well. 

Wide Receiver (6): DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton, Demario “Pop” Douglas, Kayshon Boutte

Thoughts- It is not a surprise that the Patriots are carrying six receivers. The top four receivers were locks. Douglas and Boutte had great training camp and played their way onto the roster. Both are expected to contribute this season. 

Tight ends: (2): Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki

Thoughts- Henry and Gesicki form a potent one, two punch at tight end but it is surprising the Patriots did not opt to carry a third tight end. I thought both Anthony Firkser and Matt Sokol had good camps. Maybe one or both could be back on the practice squad later today but for now, the Patriots are only carrying two tight ends. 

Offensive line (11): Trent Brown, Cole Strange, David Andrews, Mike Onwenu, Riley Reiff, Calvin Anderson, Sidy Sow, Atonio Mafi, Jake Andrews, Tyrone Wheatley Jr., Vederian Lowe

Thoughts- The fact that the Patriots are carrying 11 offensive lineman speaks to how uncertain things are at the position. I don’t think any team in NFL history has kept this many offensive lineman on their roster. The offensive line is a mess and Bill Belichick and the offensive staff know it. That is why they are overcompensating by keeping so many offensive lineman. 

Defensive Line (7): Davon Godchaux, Christian Barmore, Lawrence Guy Sr., Daniel Ekuale, Deatrich Wise Jr., Sam Roberts, Keion White

Thoughts- All the defensive tackles we thought would make the roster, did make the roster. The only surprise is Roberts. The Patriots love his length, athleticism and upside. Ultimately, that is why he made the team. Overall, this is a good group. If these guys stay healthy, the interior defensive line collectively could be among the best in the NFL. 

Linebackers/EDGE: (8): Matthew Judon, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai, Marte Mapu, Chris Board, Mack Wilson Sr.

Thoughts- No surprises here. We expected every single one of the linebackers on this list to make the team. The Patriots linebacking corp is versatile and can do a lot of different things within the scheme. This is one of the top linebacking units in the league. 

Cornerbacks: (6): Jonathan Jones, Christian Gonzalez, Marcus Jones, Jack Jones, Myles Bryant, Shaun Wade

Thoughts- No surprises here other than Wade. Admittedly, I did not see him making the team but they love his versatility. He can play corner, safety and play in the slot in sub packages. Some might be surprised to see Jack Jones made the team but the Patriots like his upside and they want to give him a fair shake. He is still dealing with legal issues from June’s gun incident at Logan Airport so it will be interesting to see if he plays the entire season. 

Safeties (4): Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, Jabrill Peppers, Jalen Mills

Thoughts- I thought they might carry five safeties but in the end, they are carrying the four players we expected them to carry. All four are versatile and can do multiple things within the Patriots defense. All four will play and they will contribute to all three levels of the defense. 

Specialists (6): Chad Ryland (kicker), Bryce Baringer (punter), Joe Cardona (snapper), Matthew Slater, Brenden Schooler, Ameer Speed

Thoughts- No surprises here. I felt Ryland was going to beat out Folk. He had the better camp. Folk was ultimately traded to the Titans for a seventh round pick. Some might be surprised to see Ameer Speed make the team but it should not be surprising. The Patriots view him as the heir apparent to Matthew Slater. He can be a core special teamer for a long time.