Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection: Rookie Wide Receiver Provides Tantalizing Upside

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Perry's 53-Man Roster Projection: Can Pat Rookie WR Make An Impact? originally appeared nbc sports boston

Now that the NFL draft is in the books, let's take a look at the Patriots' 53-man roster.

How many badass will make it? What does the receiver room look like? Will the rookie quarterback make the final cut? How many special-teams specialists will be included in the 53?

let's find out…

Pretty self-explanatory here. The Patriots did not invest a draft pick or real free-agent dollars on this occasion. either Trace McSorley (signed as a free agent) or Malik Cunningham (signed as undrafted rookie) could be kept aboard to land on the practice squad, but it seems unlikely for either player to win an active-roster role.

cunningham Reportedly earned a big time pay day after the draftSo maybe with the sweltering heat he can claim a backup spot bill belichick Quarterback Room.

Montgomery is a forgotten figure in this group as he was not seen in Week 1 of 2022 after catching a touchdown pass. sub back” option. Pierre Strong could be there, but it's hard to project how he'll absorb pass-protection duties after blocking just four times in 51 offensive snaps last year.

Kevin Harris' spot is not certain, but he makes the roster here as a “big back” backup if anything happens to Stevenson.

This unit appears to have four NFL-caliber veterans — with Tyquan Thornton looking to establish himself in Year 2 — and a spot for a rookie. Will It Be Demario “Pop” Douglas Out Of Liberty? Or Keeshon Bout from LSU?

Both were sixth round picks. We'll go with Douglas here because it sounds like he's giving the team something it hasn't with real vertical potential at the grassroots level. He had an impressive Shrine Bowl and combine, and would be a deep option as a return man.

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Bout had an impressive touchdown against Georgia in the SEC game, but he laid an egg athletically at the combine and there are questions of football character that follow him in the league. If Bout is the player he was two years ago, he could be a steal on Day 3. If not, he could be off the roster for up to 1 week.


The Patriots are heavily invested in this spot financially, but what if one of these two goes down? They have to give up a part of their playbook. There are no real depth pieces here.

Hunter Henry looks like a steady do-it-all presence. Mike Gesicki looks like a vertical-down-the-middle-of-the-field option. Together they can provide headaches for defensive coordinators, especially under Bill O'Brien, whose history with 12-person packages is well established.

It seemed like Belichick tried to save himself before finding a relatively weak tackle class on draft weekend. He went out and signed both Reiff and Anderson, and it's pretty clear now that the plan is to start at least one of them.

Fourth-round rookie Sidi So could help bolster the tackle depth here, but he looks like a versatile guard-tackle option. Fellow fourth-round rookie Jake Andrews looks like a versatile guard-center option that there seems to be a succession plan for New England in the center.

In this scenario, however, he'll have to wait, as David Andrews remains arguably the team's best offensive lineman.

Based on the fact that the Patriots were willing to spend draft capital on kicker Chad Ryland (fourth rounder) and punter Bryce Barringer (sixth), expect them to be here when 53 is decided. Tough break for kicker Nick Folk, who has been one of the team's most stable players over the past several years.

Rookie sixth-rounder Amir Speed ​​makes the roster here as well. Coming out of Michigan State (Georgia transfer) likely won't affect Belichick's defensive backfield, but as a core special-teamer in college, he impressed enough to earn a Day 3 selection.

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The question is: Is It Over-Commitment to the Kicking Game? The Patriots' season ended on two kickoff returns for touchdowns, but with roughly 17 percent of your roster spots taken up by players who likely won't chip in on offense or defense, that's rare.

The Patriots opt to run it back at this position with some big-bodied early-down defenders (Devon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy, Karl Davis), a sub-option rushing interior (Daniel Aquiel), and a few versatile pieces Are. Can be used in the circumstances (Dietrich Wise, Christian Barmore).

Belichick will want to be able to throw fresh legs to opposing offensive lines during a game, and a half-dozen capable vets at the position should allow him to do exactly that.

One could argue that White belongs in the latter group, as his diverse skill set may lead him to be used in a fashion that is reminiscent of Wise's role: on the edge on initial downs, on third down. Running away from the interior. But we'll keep the second-round pick here, because he's shown the ability to play in a two-point stance off the edge and drop into coverage with impressive fluidity for his size (6-foot-5, 285 pounds). ,

The top-two options here will once again be heavily relied upon, but they could be spelled a bit more often in 2023 by Raekwon McMillan. In the previous season, McMillan injured his thumb early in the season and this cost him playing time. If he can stay healthy, he could be a regular on both defense and the kicking game.

Mack Wilson was one of the last thrown out in this 53-man projection, but his speed and kicking-game abilities weren't enough to beat anyone at this spot…

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… Myles Bryant, who was one of the last inducted here but who played nearly 700 defensive snaps last year, saw Wilson last season (234 snaps). And in a position like cornerback—a weak-link system where a non-NFL-caliber player forced into action can have devastating effects on the entire defense—that experience is valuable. Here are others.

The selection of Marte Mapu may have left you scratching your head wondering how he would fit in, but Belichick clearly could see a role for Mapu before using the No. 76 overall pick. If Mapu is healthy then definitely. The third-rounder suffered a pec injury in the Senior Bowl that could make him unavailable for the start of the regular season. We'll keep him in this spot for now, knowing there's a chance he ends up as an undersized inside linebacker, where he starred in Mobile.

Jalen Mills is here in part because the team is now a cornerback and there is some uncertainty at the free safety spot. Will it be Mills who absolves some of the responsibilities Devin McCourty's retirement? Or will it be Jonathan Jones? Or will Kyle Duggar play deep in the field more often?

There are still all questions to be answered, but this group appears to be the group most likely to be on the active roster in September.