Current number of players: 3
Four-year average at cut to 53: 2.5
Last season at 53: 3
Locks (3): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
Long shots: None
On the team: Brady, Hoyer, Mallett
Parting thought: Brady certainly isn’t going anywhere, and the Patriots like Hoyer as his backup. They believe he has what it takes to be a solid starter. This could be Hoyer’s final year with the Pats – he will be a free agent after the season, and if he really has grown as much as the team believes he has, Hoyer will want to test the waters and get a shot at taking over a team. While he did not take a snap in his rookie season, word is Mallett showed growth on the practice field last year. He still has some work to do, judging by his mechanics during spring camps, but if Hoyer does depart, he’ll likely be the top backup next season, so he needs to fine-tune.