And......fight! Earlier Look at 2015 Roster Battles

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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This is what I have right now.  Projected number of players at each position making the 53 man roster in parentheses and locks or virtual locks in green.
 
-I have no clue how the RB situation shakes out and was surprised we didn't draft one.  That's a pretty good spot if you're an UDFA looking to make a roster.
-Competition on the DL looks really tough.  Time to say goodbye to mediocre depth players like Jake Bequette.
-LB is another spot where an UDFA could come in and really compete.  There''s nobody remotely special after our top three.
-I love how our OL is shaping up post-draft.  We may only keep eight there on the 53 man and stash a couple depth guys on the PS.
-DB depth really isn't that bad.  Quality on the other hand...
-Injuries and surprise cuts might change this picture, and the numbers of players at each position obviously are fluid.
-Overall, this roster is in great shape.  There really aren't a lot of holes and the depth is really impressive, especially on the lines.
 
 
 
Offense
 
QB (2) – Brady, Garoppolo
RB (4) – Blount, White, Gray, Bolden, Cadet, Gaffney, Develin
WR (6) – Edelman, Lafell, Amendola, Slater, Dobson, Tyms, Boyce, Gibson
TE (4) – Gronk, Chandler, Wright, Hooman, Derby
OL (9) – Solder, Vollmer, Stork, Mason, Jackson, Cannon, Wendell, Fleming, Kline, Devey, Barker
 
Defense
 
DT (4) – Brown, Easley, Siliga, Branch, Chris Jones, Vellano
EDGE (6) – Cha. Jones, Nink, Sheard, Flowers, Grissom, Buchanan, Moore, Bequette
LB (5) – Collins, Hightower, Mayo, Skinner, Fleming, Wells, Freeny, White, Morris
DB (10) – McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Richards, Ryan, Butler, Arrington, Fletcher, Ebner, Wilson, Chekwa, Swanson, McClain, Roberts
 
Specialists (3) – Ghost, Allen, Cardona, Ott
 

Tony C

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I think Bolden for his ST play and Fleming on the OT are virtual locks, or as close as one can be on a BB team that often has surprise cuts. Among those cuts, wouldn't be surprised if Hooman is among them -- he's just not that good even at his limited role.
 
I'm not as concerned as others by the CBs. Depth is key in today's NFL. #1 WRs will have to be double teamed. Heck, #1 WRs were double teamed and Revis often last year took the #2 guy. Don't get me wrong...I love Revis and what he did, but there's more than one way to skin a cat.
 

Super Nomario

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
-I have no clue how the RB situation shakes out and was surprised we didn't draft one.  That's a pretty good spot if you're an UDFA looking to make a roster.
Yeah, that was one position I was 100% sure we'd grab.
 
Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
-LB is another spot where an UDFA could come in and really compete.  There''s nobody remotely special after our top three.
Don't forget James Morris, who the Pats gave a $20K bonus to last year as a UDFA but he ended up on IR.
 
Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
-I love how our OL is shaping up post-draft.  We may only keep eight there on the 53 man and stash a couple depth guys on the PS.
-DB depth really isn't that bad.  Quality on the other hand...
FA signing Robert McClain and seventh-round CB Darryl Roberts both have real chances to make the squad.
 
Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
Offense
 
QB (2) – Brady, Garoppolo, Garrett Gilbert
RB (4) – Blount, White, Gray, Bolden, Cadet, Gaffney, Develin, Dion Lewis
WR (6) – Edelman, Lafell, Amendola, Slater, Dobson, Tyms, Boyce, Brandon Gibson, Jonathan Krause, Kevin Dorsey, Devin Gardner, Chris Harper
TE (4) – Gronk, Chandler, Wright, Hooman, Derby
OL (9) – Solder, Vollmer, Stork, Mason, Jackson, Cannon, Wendell, Fleming, Kline, Devey, Barker, Caylin Hauptmann, David Andrews
 
Defense
 
DT (4) – Brown, Easley, Siliga, Branch, Chris Jones, Vellano, Antonio Johnson
EDGE (6) – Cha. Jones, Nink, Sheard, Flowers, Grissom, Buchanan, Moore, Bequette, Xzavier Dickson, Rufus Johnson
LB (5) – Collins, Hightower, Mayo, Skinner, Fleming, Wells, Freeny, White, Eric Martin, James Morris, Cameron Gordon
DB (10) – McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Richards, Ryan, Butler, Arrington, Fletcher, Dennard, Ebner, Wilson, Chekwa, Swanson, Robert McClain, Darryl Roberts, Jimmy Jean, Brandon King, Justin Green
 
Specialists (3) – Ghost, Allen, Cardona, Aiken
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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TheoShmeo said:
 
Super Nomario said:
 
 
Don't forget James Morris, who the Pats gave a $20K bonus to last year as a UDFA but he ended up on IR.
 
FA signing Robert McClain and seventh-round CB Darryl Roberts both have real chances to make the squad.
 
 
All duly noted in the original post now.  Good calls.
 
I'm particularly intrigued by Roberts.  He must be a 7th rounder for a reason (or two) but the skill set is impressive on a raw level.
 

Shelterdog

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Looking way down the road the fact that they added a whole bunch of DE/big OLB types (Sheard, Grissom, Flowers, and even the Xz-factor Dickson) but no really fast LBs makes me think that the long time plan is to keep Collins and only one of Hightower or Jones. 
 

Super Nomario

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Shelterdog said:
Looking way down the road the fact that they added a whole bunch of DE/big OLB types (Sheard, Grissom, Flowers, and even the Xz-factor Dickson) but no really fast LBs makes me think that the long time plan is to keep Collins and only one of Hightower or Jones. 
Matt Wells is a fast LB, though initially he'll almost certainly play more special teams. What's striking to me is that they added guys like Grissom and Flowers with no clear role. I don't know whether that's because they want guys who can potentially fill in at multiple spots, or whether they want to be able to run out a front six / seven of guys who line up in different places and do different things (and Ninkovich, Hightower, Collins, Easley, and Brown are also these sorts of guys) on a snap-to-snap basis. Or both. I think I've been wrong about every prediction I've made on the front seven in the past five years though.
 

Shelterdog

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Super Nomario said:
Matt Wells is a fast LB, though initially he'll almost certainly play more special teams. What's striking to me is that they added guys like Grissom and Flowers with no clear role. I don't know whether that's because they want guys who can potentially fill in at multiple spots, or whether they want to be able to run out a front six / seven of guys who line up in different places and do different things (and Ninkovich, Hightower, Collins, Easley, and Brown are also these sorts of guys) on a snap-to-snap basis. Or both. I think I've been wrong about every prediction I've made on the front seven in the past five years though.
 
Yeah, I view Wells as a special teams guy who might, just might, play a little linebacker in the "WTF is BB doing putting the special teams guy on the field Eric Alexander" position three times a year, but it's hard to see him being a real factor on defense.
 
I think they've concluded that in todays NFL you can essentially play 3 DE/OLBs quite a bit with 2 DEs and a big strong side linebacker (Nink/Jones/Hightower last year, Suggs/Dummervil/McPhree in Baltimore), and with Nink getting older, and Jones and Hightower coming off of injuries and getting close to contract years that you pick up three or four guys (Grissom, Flowers, Sheard, Dickson) to get two who can play in 2015 and maybe three who can play in 2016.
 

Shelterdog

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tims4wins said:
If Ott was cut they must have a good feeling on Cardona's availability
 
You can find a B- long snapper whenever you want to. I can't imagine that it's a big deal who your long snapper is until training camp actually starts.
 

soxfan121

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
This is what I have right now.  Projected number of players at each position making the 53 man roster in parentheses and locks or virtual locks in green.
 
-I have no clue how the RB situation shakes out and was surprised we didn't draft one.  That's a pretty good spot if you're an UDFA looking to make a roster.
-Competition on the DL looks really tough.  Time to say goodbye to mediocre depth players like Jake Bequette.
-LB is another spot where an UDFA could come in and really compete.  There''s nobody remotely special after our top three.
-I love how our OL is shaping up post-draft.  We may only keep eight there on the 53 man and stash a couple depth guys on the PS.
-DB depth really isn't that bad.  Quality on the other hand...
-Injuries and surprise cuts might change this picture, and the numbers of players at each position obviously are fluid.
-Overall, this roster is in great shape.  There really aren't a lot of holes and the depth is really impressive, especially on the lines.
 
 
 
Offense
 
QB (2) – Brady, Garoppolo
RB (4) – Blount, White, Gray, Bolden, Cadet, Gaffney, Develin
WR (6) – Edelman, Lafell, Amendola, Slater, Dobson, Tyms, Boyce, Gibson
TE (4) – Gronk, Chandler, Wright, Hooman, Derby
OL (9) – Solder, Vollmer, Stork, Mason, Jackson, Cannon, Wendell, Fleming, Kline, Devey, Barker
 
Defense
 
DT (4) – Brown, Easley, Siliga, Branch, Chris Jones, Vellano
EDGE (6) – Cha. Jones, Nink, Sheard, Flowers, Grissom, Buchanan, Moore, Bequette
LB (5) – Collins, Hightower, Mayo, Skinner, Fleming, Wells, Freeny, White, Morris
DB (10) – McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Richards, Ryan, Butler, Arrington, Fletcher, Ebner, Wilson, Chekwa, Swanson, McClain, Roberts
 
Specialists (3) – Ghost, Allen, Cardona, Ott
 
Actual battles (in no particular order):
-Flowers/Grissom vs. Bequette/Moore/Buchanan: I agree the rookies have the inside track to the backup roles here, especially given Jones's contract situation and Ninkovich's age. However, Moore and Buchanan have both flashed actual ability on an NFL field. Bequette is toast unless the conversion to OLB has been wildly successful over the last year. 
- Wells vs. White/Freeny; there's gonna be at least one of these guys. OneEyeWells might unseat White but more likely doesn't see the field.
- Fletcher/McClain/Checkwa/Swanson/Roberts: I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Fletcher fails to make the club. Ebner might be in ST specialist battle royale above; Wilson, too, though depth at S is no longer an issue, unless McCourty isn't a safety next season.
- I'd have Branch as a lock to make the team; they haven't carried less than four DT-types in a long time. Ditto White and Develin; I subscribe to the "White was redshirted because Vereen stayed healthy" theory (made stronger by no RB pick) and Develin is a swiss-army knife for the the offense. 
- Wild guess: Wendell is the surprise cut in camp; Kline and one of the rookies start at G week 1.
- Lots of zone, lots of blitzing. The versatility of Sheard, Brown and Grissom increases the likelihood a game plan features the 1-6 defense.
 
 

Super Nomario

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soxfan121 said:
Actual battles (in no particular order):
-Flowers/Grissom vs. Bequette/Moore/Buchanan: I agree the rookies have the inside track to the backup roles here, especially given Jones's contract situation and Ninkovich's age. However, Moore and Buchanan have both flashed actual ability on an NFL field. Bequette is toast unless the conversion to OLB has been wildly successful over the last year. 
- Wells vs. White/Freeny; there's gonna be at least one of these guys. OneEyeWells might unseat White but more likely doesn't see the field.
- Fletcher/McClain/Checkwa/Swanson/Roberts: I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Fletcher fails to make the club. Ebner might be in ST specialist battle royale above; Wilson, too, though depth at S is no longer an issue, unless McCourty isn't a safety next season.
- I'd have Branch as a lock to make the team; they haven't carried less than four DT-types in a long time. Ditto White and Develin; I subscribe to the "White was redshirted because Vereen stayed healthy" theory (made stronger by no RB pick) and Develin is a swiss-army knife for the the offense. 
I'm basically with you on all this.
 
soxfan121 said:
- Wild guess: Wendell is the surprise cut in camp; Kline and one of the rookies start at G week 1.
The problem with this is that Wendell is the backup C, so I think he sticks even if he loses his starting job. The X-factor is if they re-sign Connolly, but that seems unlikely at this point.
 
soxfan121 said:
- Lots of zone, lots of blitzing. The versatility of Sheard, Brown and Grissom increases the likelihood a game plan features the 1-6 defense.
I think we'll see a fair amount of zone "blitz" concepts where they're rushing four but mixing up where they're coming from. Actually sending extra guys seems risky since the back end is shaky; if you blitz and play zone behind, that's more area for each individual secondary player to cover.
 

Shelterdog

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Joshv02 said:
Wendell's fate depends on if Mason is good enough and able to handle center, no?
 
It might.  Interestingly Mason apparently made all the line calls for GT from right guard so you'd think he's somewhat competent to the task.  If they were confident that Mason could be a competent center then he makes an awful lot of sense as your backup interior lineman on game day, particularly since he could be a goal line fullback/6th OL and maybe some special team stuff.
 
But I think that's a lot to ask a rookie who's never really pass blocked.  I think ultimately the Pats have one of Connolly or Wendell on the roster so you have one experienced starting guard who can also be your backup center if Stork goes down, and I think it could very well be Connolly--they may just be waiting until the date (I think it's May 12) where veteran signings no longer count in the compensatory draft system and you don't want to lose one of the Ayers/Vereen/Cassias picks because you re-signed Connolly too soon.
 

Stitch01

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soxfan121 said:
 
Actual battles (in no particular order):
-Flowers/Grissom vs. Bequette/Moore/Buchanan: I agree the rookies have the inside track to the backup roles here, especially given Jones's contract situation and Ninkovich's age. However, Moore and Buchanan have both flashed actual ability on an NFL field. Bequette is toast unless the conversion to OLB has been wildly successful over the last year. 
- Wells vs. White/Freeny; there's gonna be at least one of these guys. OneEyeWells might unseat White but more likely doesn't see the field.
- Fletcher/McClain/Checkwa/Swanson/Roberts: I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Fletcher fails to make the club. Ebner might be in ST specialist battle royale above; Wilson, too, though depth at S is no longer an issue, unless McCourty isn't a safety next season.
- I'd have Branch as a lock to make the team; they haven't carried less than four DT-types in a long time. Ditto White and Develin; I subscribe to the "White was redshirted because Vereen stayed healthy" theory (made stronger by no RB pick) and Develin is a swiss-army knife for the the offense. 
- Wild guess: Wendell is the surprise cut in camp; Kline and one of the rookies start at G week 1.
- Lots of zone, lots of blitzing. The versatility of Sheard, Brown and Grissom increases the likelihood a game plan features the 1-6 defense.
 
 
--Agree Bequette is toast.  Think the battle is Moore vs. Buchanan for a possible spot, cant see them cutting either Grissom or Flowers outright.  Think its been 20 years since the Pats cut someone they drafted that high
--No idea how to handicap the linebacker/ST battle.  One of them makes it.
--No idea how to handicap the CBs yet.  Agree that no one is a lock
--Agree Branch is pretty close to a lock and mostly agree on White and Develin  Some chance White just busts out, but all of their moves seem to indicate they think White can contribute
--Wendell could be cut, but would require real strong camps from the rookies.
--I dont think they are going to blitz as much as rush four creatively.