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Still-too-early 53-man roster projection

Posted by Albert Breer  June 18, 2010 05:58 PM

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RECEIVER (6)
Julian Edelman
Torry Holt
Randy Moss
Taylor Price
Brandon Tate
Wes Welker

The first change comes here, where Sam Aiken narrowly misses the cut. It'd be a tough decision if it comes to whacking the 2008 special teams captain. But something has to give, and with it seeming apparent that Welker will be ready much earlier than originally expected, Holt slips past Aiken for the final roster spot, with Kyle Arrington sticking to make up the difference on teams.

TIGHT END (3)
Alge Crumpler
Rob Gronkowski
Aaron Hernandez

This really doesn't need to be explained. You guys get it.

OFFENSIVE LINE (10)
George Bussey
Dan Connolly
Nick Kaczur
Dan Koppen
Ted Larsen
Mark LeVoir
Matt Light
Stephen Neal
Sebastian Vollmer
Thomas Welch

Logan Mankins' contract dispute might be the least predictable one I've ever covered, because I'm not sure a few extra bucks will do the trick like it does with most players. Adding Bussey here, who saw first-team reps at left tackle in minicamp, and can play guard too. And I'm putting Welch on here too -- Got a roster-stretching twist for you on him coming up.

DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
Ron Brace
Damione Lewis
Myron Pryor
Gerard Warren
Ty Warren
Vince Wilfork
Mike Wright

Seems like Brace is getting chances to prove himself now, and with Gerard Warren running the 1s, I'll put him back on the team after leaving him off before. I still think Brandon Deaderick sticks somehow. Whether it's on the practice squad, or injured reserve, they'll find a way to keep him if there's no room on the roster.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)
Tully Banta-Cain
Derrick Burgess
Jermaine Cunningham
Rob Ninkovich
Pierre Woods

Shawn Crable may prove himself in camp, but for now he remains on the outside looking in. Woods looks more and more like he'll be even more restricted to special teams this year, so he's gonna have to continue to shine in that area to make it. Competition in that regard comes from Marques Murrell.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
Gary Guyton
Jerod Mayo
Tyrone McKenzie
Brandon Spikes

Guyton continues to be first team at inside linebacker, although I suspect that either McKenzie or Spikes will be in rotation with him. Of these four, McKenzie would probably be the only one at risk of landing on the chopping block. And even that seems highly unlikely. If the Patriots keep a fifth here, it'd probably be special teamer Eric Alexander or sometimes-fullback Thomas Williams.

CORNERBACK (5)
Kyle Arrington**
Leigh Bodden
Darius Butler
Devin McCourty
Jonathan Wilhite

Sticking with what I had before on this one too. Arrington makes it as a special teamer, while the other four seem to be in good shape. Wilhite could be challenged for a roster spot by his 2008 draft classmate Terrence Wheatley.

SAFETY (4)
Patrick Chung
Brandon McGowan
Brandon Meriweather
James Sanders

The more you watch Chung, the more you can see his role really growing in 2010. He well could beat out Sanders and McGowan to play next to Meriweather. This will be a fun competition to watch.

SPECIALISTS (2)

K Stephen Gostkowski
P Zoltan Mesko

Where's the long snapper? That's the twist. Thomas Welch can long snap, and was working on it in minicamp. If he's good enough, having him as a long snapper allows the team to save a roster spot in that he can provide offensive line depth.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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