I don't know what people define as "top end talent". All-Pros? Pro Bowl players? I don't know. Here's how I look at each position group from the initial 53-man roster. I'll give each position group a grade on top end talent, and depth.
Quarterback - Jones, Hoyer, Zappe
Mac is solid. I think he will end up being a really good NFL quarterback. It has taken many guys who turn out to be excellent several years to really click. I could see what appears to be a flat line from last year to this, even as he progresses. It might not show up in the stats. But he's a really nice building block. Hoyer is what he is. Zappe...eh who knows, but you gotta (I guess) have three QBs on the roster just in case.
Top end talent: B
Running Back - D Harris, Stevenson, Strong, Montgomery
This group has loads of talent. Harris is a beast. Stevenson maybe even more so plus more receiving ability. Strong is one of the fastest RBs in the league. Montgomery is uber versatile. Only having four guys at this position might be problematic, especially because we already know that Montgomery is hurt...though we don't know how bad his injury is.
Top end talent: A-
Wide Receivers - Parker, Bourne, Meyers, Agholor, Thornton
I like this group. A lot. More than most everyone else here. Parker is really good. I'm high on Bourne, though his preseason was worrisome. Meyers is solid, nothing more, but hey, solid is pretty good. I think Agholor could be in for a really good season. And the sky is the limit for Thornton, though of course we already see him hurt and who knows if he can hold up. But when on the field, that kid looks DYNAMIC. Depth is an issue right now for sure. They don't have a true #1, so that bumps down their top end talent grade, and the Thornton injury bumps down their depth - plus they only have 5 WRs on the roster in the first place. But this group, when healthy, features five really solid players. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Top end talent: C+
Tight End - Henry, Smith
Well, we know that Henry is a really good player. He clicked with Mac last year. And so for me this all comes down to Jonnu Smith. He has tons of ability, but the question is whether they can maximize it. I think he's a playmaker, but he also has stretches where he's invisible. Only having two TEs obviously limits depth considerably.
Top end talent: B-
Offensive Line - Brown, Strange, Andrews, Onwenu, Wynn, Cajuste, Herron, Hines
I'm suddenly not sure about this group. I had thought it could be one of the better lines in the league, but man, their summer performance was DISMAL in so many ways. That doesn't inspire confidence. Maybe it's a new scheme. Maybe it's a lack of cohesion. Maybe it's a lack of talent. Maybe it's not having good coaching. I don't know, but I'm most worried about this group more than any other position. I think talent is there - Brown is a mountain, and we know Andrews is excellent. Onwenu is a year removed from dominating as a rookie. And Wynn has the pedigree. Lots of people like Hines, and I think we all think Strange will be really good in the NFL. But man...it's not just about the individual ability of these guys. More than any other group, they need to mesh TOGETHER as a unit, and so far, haven't seen it.
Top end talent: B-
Defensive Line - Wise, Barmore, Godchaux, Guy, Roberts, Davis, Mitchell
Hmmm...I'd like to think this group could be really good. Barmore should be an absolute monster. Godchaux...well...BB is really high on him and I am not a DL expert, but it looked to me like he got moved around pretty easily last year. Guy is pretty solid. I like Roberts' potential, and Carl Davis at times looks like a stud in there. Wise, I could take or leave. I think on the whole this group is pretty decent, though not spectacular. If somehow Roberts could really pop, and Barmore reaches his nearly limitless potential, this group could be excellent.
Top end talent: B+ (based on Barmore alone)
Linebacker - Bentley, McMillan, Judon, Uche, Wilson, Jennings, Tavai
I think this group is versatile and much faster than previous iterations. I don't love Tavai, but Jennings flashed this summer. Wilson and McMillan have the kind of speed they haven't had in a while at the position. Bentley is a thumper but struggles in coverage (well-documented here). Judos is an all pro talent. Too bad he faded at the end of last year. But there's legit talent here.
Top end talent: B+ (Judon is a potential DPOY type player)
Cornerback - Mills, J Jones, M Jones, J Jones, Bryant, Wade
Losing Gilmore one year, then JC Jackson the next, really hurts. But we can't pine for what's not here, and we have to focus on what IS here. I think this is an unspectacular, but pretty decent, group. Mills isn't really a #1, though he has played well this summer. I think he's gonna get absolutely roasted by good WRs, though he will make a play or two. I am not sure if J Jones is miscast on the outside, as he was an excellent slot guy. At least he has the raw speed to keep up with elite WRs. I'm super curious about the rookie Jones boys. I think there's real playmaking talent there, but it might take a couple of years to bear fruit. I think they both have legit futures in this league as outstanding corners. Bryant...well...the last thing I remember about him was him getting torched by a backup Bills' WR for like 11 receptions in a game. Ugh. Wade I guess gives them size at the position to match up with bigger WRs.
Top end talent: B- (though in a couple of years I think the rookie Jones boys could make this grade an A...but not yet)
Safety - McCourty, Phillips, Dugger, Peppers, Bledsoe
I love this group. I think they have thump, versatility, experience, athleticism, and lots of skill. Best overall position group on the team, in my opinion, even if they don't have an all pro level player. Everyone here is just GOOD. It's just a group of really good football players that will be counted on heavily to anchor the defense.
Top end talent: B+
Specialists - Folk, Bailey, Cardona, Slater, Davis, Schooler
They have an excellent group of specialists. Solid kicker, great punter, I guess a good long snapper (haha who knows), and the coverage specialists are all excellent. Of course special teams includes 11 guys, not just a few, and they had huge breakdowns last year, so I don't know how their overall special teams will look, but this particular group of specialists is really good.
Top end talent: B+
Depth: A (Bailey can handle kicking duties if necessary)
So to me this roster (which we know will change even in the next few hours) definitely has some exciting talent, but they aren't loaded with pro bowl caliber players. I'd say they have a lot of GOOD players, though few GREAT ones. Depth on the whole seems to be pretty decent, but it looks like, overall, a slightly better than average roster. That might sound ok on paper, but it wouldn't take much at all - a poor performance by someone we expect to be good, or a key injury, etc. - for this group to suddenly be well below average. They have the potential to win a pretty good number of games (max of 11, IMO, if everything goes right) to feeling like this season was basically a catastrophe (potential for a 6 win season if things go poorly). And that line between the two, for a team like this, is pretty thin.
I'm also not sold on the coaching staff. I still have huge regard for Belichick, but like most everyone else here, I'm not in love with Judge or Patricia, and wish we had a total coaching staff I had more confidence in. I like Mayo, and Troy Brown, but I really have question marks with the coaches.
I do think this team's outlook really is for 2023 and beyond, and this is a bit of a building type season. So I'll be thrilled if they make the playoffs, but what I'm really looking for this year is a team to make clear, tangible steps forward, so that we can have a high degree of confidence that in 2023 they'll actually be AFC contenders. I could see a very rough start given (a) their schedule, and (b) how poor they performed over the summer, but I do expect them to clean things up and look like a pretty competent NFL team after that. Unfortunately, the schedule gets pretty brutal at the end, so I could see a struggle the last quarter of the year. They might be playing a lot better by then and still lose.
I am thinking about 8-10 wins, because I don't think everything will break right, nor will everything break wrong, and that's about their true talent level, IMO.