The 2020 NFL season is only a few weeks away and teams will have to cut their 80 man rosters down to 53 players, with players on the PUP list and IR not counting. That being said, let’s get down to projecting who makes the team and who misses out. (This does not take into account any future signings)
Quarterbacks: Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham
Cut: Brian Hoyer, Brian Lewerke
Cam Newton has quickly picked up the Patriots playbook and his acclimation to the offense even draws praise from Bill Belichick. Stidham will also crack the roster, but as a backup, this time learning from Newton. The projection of cutting Hoyer may surprise some, but his lackluster training camp performance only validates any questions regarding his job security.
Runningbacks: James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Lamar Miller, JJ Taylor
PUP: Sony Michel
Sony Michel on the PUP list certainly increases the odds that JJ Taylor will be able to make the roster, Taylor will likely be sent to the practice squad upon Michel’s return. Lamar Miller is certainly an interesting piece on Belichick’s roster. Most are unsure of his role, especially with Damien Harris shining in camp, but a player like him isn’t someone a team simply lets go.
Wide Receivers: Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu Sr., N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Matthew Slater
Cut: Jeff Thomas, Will Hastings, Isaiah Zuber, Devin Ross
There aren’t any real surprises here, though many expected Jeff Thomas to sneak onto the roster, there isn’t enough room. Sanu Sr. and Harry will be looking to improve upon last year’s disappointing season and will be given many chances to improve in the upcoming season.
Tight Ends: Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Ryan Izzo, Rashod Berry
Cut: Paul Butler, Paul Quessenberry, Jake Burt
Asiasi and Keene were obvious but every player behind them is uncertain. Izzo could be a safe bet given his experience and Berry can play tight end or defensive line and that versatility is valued in the New England system. The others are extremely unlikely to make it to the final 53, having either no experience or very little upside.
Offensive Linemen: David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn, Ben Braden, Yodny Cajuste, Korey Cunningham, Jermaine Eluemunor, Hjalte Froholdt, Mike Onwenu
Cut: Tyler Gauthier, Justin Herron
The big mystery for the O-line is, who will replace Marcus Cannon after he opted out? It will be a 3 way battle between Cajuste, Eluemunor, and Cunningham. They have all been solid thus far (personally Cajuste is my pick). As for Herron and Gauthier, they haven’t been able to stand out in camp and would logically be cut.
Defensive Lineman: Lawrence Guy, Chase Winovich, Adam Butler, John Simon, Byron Cowart, Beau Allen, Deatrich Wise Jr.
Cut: Michael Barnett, Derek Rivers, Tashawn Bower, Xavier Williams, Nick Thurman, Bill Murray
Though Barnett and Williams were recently signed, they simply don’t have enough time to establish themselves on the roster. Rivers is certainly a wild card, he’s had a solid camp but he must remain injury free if he is to be retained. Other than that, the defensive line doesn’t see much change.
Linebackers: Ja’whaun Bentley, Brandon Copeland, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings, Cassh Maluia, Scoota Harris
Cut: Shilique Calhoun, Terez Hall
New England suffers from a thin linebacking core after a brutal free agency and Dont’a Hightower’s opt out. Ja’whaun Bentley will likely take the role of the defensive signal caller, with Copeland, Uche, and Jennings seeing the field as well. If the linebackers are to be successful, the rookies (Uche, Jennings, Maluia, and Harris) must produce.
Defensive Backs: Stephon Gilmore: Jason McCourty, JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips
Cut: Cody Davis, Justin Bethel, Michael Jackson, Terrence Brooks, Myles Bryant, D’Angelo Ross
Myles Bryant is having a great camp as an undrafted free agent, but the depth chart may just be too stacked for him to truly make an impact. Other than him, there is no real surprise, but look for Joejuan Williams to step up this year and for Kyle Dugger to see more playing time than Patriots rookie defensive backs in years past.
Kicker: Nick Folk
Punter: Jake Bailey
Long Snapper: Joe Cardona
Cut: Justin Rohrwasser (Kicker)
Rohrwasser’s status is unknown and he appears to struggle at times, therefore the Patriots signed kicker Nick Folk, who suited up for them last year. Folk made 82.4% (14/17) of his field goals last season and 100% (12/12) of his extra point attempts, according to Pro Football reference.