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Analyzing the Patriots initial 51-man roster

Posted by Erik Frenz  August 31, 2013 04:08 PM

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The Patriots have made enough reductions to trim their roster from 75 to 51 players. While there are certainly a few more moves to come in the next few days, we now have a very good idea of what the roster will look like for Week 1 of the 2013 season.

First, here is a list of the reported and announced cut during the transition from 75 to 53 players:

  • Daniel Fells, TE
  • Jake Ballard, TE
  • Stephon Morris, CB
  • Marcus Benard, DE
  • Ben Bartholomew, FB
  • Gilbert Pena, DT
  • Matt Stankiewitch, OL
  • Scott Vallone, DT
  • Mike Rivera, LB
  • Johnathan Haggerty, WR
  • Luke Patterson, OL
  • Marcus Forston, DT
  • Jermaine Cunningham, DE
  • Tim Tebow, QB
  • George Winn, RB
  • Quentin Sims, WR
  • Zoltan Mesko, P
  • Justin Francis, DE
  • Ja'Gared Davis, LB
  • Kanorris Davis, CB
  • Chris McDonald, OL
  • Justin Green, CB
  • Jeff Tarpinian, LB
  • Adrian Wilson, S (injured reserve)

Now, here's a look at the depth chart as it currently stands (blue indicates rookies, red indicates 2013 free-agent signings, green indicates trade acquisitions):

patriots 5.png

Some thoughts on the make-up of the Patriots roster:

  • Five undrafted rookies made the final cut: tight end Zach Sudfeld, wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, offensive linemen Chris McDonald, defensive tackle Joe Vellano and punter Ryan Allen. Sudfeld and Thompkins are being penciled in for significant contributions to the team.
  • The Patriots lack of depth at defensive tackle has been a big story line this preseason, and the Patriots currently stand with just three interior defensive linemen. Marcus Forston figured to be a top backup, but that role goes to Joe Vellano instead. It wouldn't be a shock for the Patriots to make a move at defensive tackle sometime in the next few days.
  • Five running backs is not as surprising given how close the battle was between LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden. Each has had their moments in preseason, Blount a few more than Bolden, and carrying five backs is not even wildly out of the norm for the Patriots —they did it from 2009-2011.
  • James Develin is a surprise name on the roster, if only because the Patriots have not opened the season with a fullback on their Week 1 roster since Heath Evans in 2008 (unless you count Sammy Morris, a converted running back who was carried as a fullback in 2010). It will be interesting to see if he sticks, and how they use Develin.
  • The biggest move, of course, is the release of Zoltan Mesko in favor of undrafted rookie Ryan Allen. The two punters were thought to be in a very close competition in terms of their on-field ability, and there is also a financial benefit of keeping Allen over Mesko — the team is spending $405,000 on Allen, as opposed to $1.323 million on Mesko. The three-year veteran Mesko has become a folk legend in New England for his community contributions, and was one of the best at landing punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line (third in the NFL in percentage of punts landing inside the 20 in 2012), but Allen is a back-to-back winner of the Ray Guy award as the best college punter in the nation. While Allen is slightly behind Mesko in talent right now, Allen has more potential.

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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »

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