Perhaps no player on the Patriots training camp roster proved himself more quickly than undrafted rookie running back DJ Foster.
Dealing with a nagging injury for much of the summer, Foster made his preseason debut in Carolina and showed good burst with the nine snaps he was given, carrying twice for nine yards and catching three passes for 33 yards. Against the Giants in the preseason finale, he grabbed the attention of anyone watching when he recorded nine grabs for 110 yards.
Despite losing a fumble, Foster made it clear he had value as an NFL running back. He was rewarded with a spot on the team's initial 53-man roster, which was set after the team released 20 players before the 4 p.m. deadline.
Like Foster, there were a handful of newcomers to the Patriots organization who played so well this preseason that the team couldn't afford to pass on them, including defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, guard Ted Karras and undrafted rookie corner Jonathan Jones.
Here's a quick look at the entire 53-man roster, position-by-position . . .
QUARTERBACK (2): JIMMY GAROPPOLO, JACOBY BRISSETT
No surprises here. Brissett is set to become a rookie backup quarterback for Week 1, just as Garoppolo was back in 2014.
RUNNING BACK (4): LeGARRETTE BLOUNT, JAMES WHITE, DJ FOSTER, BRANDON BOLDEN
Bolden's value as a special-teamer proved too great to leave off the roster. He has not seen a touch out of the backfield since fumbling against the Bears in preseason game No. 2. Tyler Gaffney and Joey Iosefa are potential practice-squad candidates as "big back" insurance.
WIDE RECEIVER (5): JULIEN EDELMAN, DANNY AMENDOLA, CHRIS HOGAN, MALCOLM MITCHELL, MATTHEW SLATER
Both Aaron Dobson and Keshawn Martin were both released on Saturday. For the team to part with Martin, a well-rounded receiver who was given $600,000 in signing bonus money late last season, was a bit of a surprise.
TIGHT END (5): ROB GRONKOWSKI, MARTELLUS BENNETT, AJ DERBY, CLAY HARBOR, JAMES DEVELIN
The Patriots elected to stick with four tight ends in addition to Develin, the team's lone true fullback. Harbor, who hasn't had a chance to contribute much as a receiver during the preseason, provides value as a versatile chess piece who can play multiple spots in offensive formations. Derby, meanwhile, is a talented developmental tight end who could be a pass-catching threat should either of the top two players at this spot miss any time.
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE (6): DAVID ANDREWS, JOE THUNEY, JOSH KLINE, SHAQ MASON, JONATHAN COOPER, TED KARRAS
The inclusion of Karras may serve as crucial depth with Cooper and Mason dealing with injuries as the regular season approaches. Karras, a sixth-round pick out of Illinois, has seen time at guard and center.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE (4): NATE SOLDER, MARCUS CANNON, CAMERON FLEMING, LaADRIAN WADDLE
The Patriots opt for four bodies at this spot to help them prepare in case of emergency. Fleming's ability to compete as a blocking tight end in jumbo packages gives him some added value.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (4): MALCOM BROWN, ALAN BRANCH, VINCENT VALENTINE, ANTHONY JOHNSON
Johnson is the story here as the other three at this position were essentially locks to make the roster. A former space-eating tackle at 325 pounds for the Dolphins, he's now an explosive interior rusher at about 280 pounds. In four preseason games, he recorded two sacks, five quarterback hurries, and he recovered a fumble.
DEFENSIVE END (4): JABAAL SHEARD, CHRIS LONG, TREY FLOWERS, SHEA McCLELLIN
With Rob Ninkovich set to begin the season by serving a four-game suspension, there was some question as to whether or not the Patriots might add an additional edge defender for their initial 53-man roster. They did not. Instead, they made the relatively surprising move to cut 2015 third-round pick Geneo Grissom.
LINEBACKER (5): DONT'A HIGHTOWER, JAMIE COLLINS, JONATHAN FREENY, BARKEVIOUS MINGO, ELANDON ROBERTS
One of the surprises of camp, Roberts has proven to be a savvy and high-energy competitor as an off-the-line 'backer. He played through injury against the Giants in the preseason finale, and he showed a knack for being around the football during training camp. Mingo's spot was guaranteed as soon as the team dealt away a fifth-rounder for him last week.
CORNERBACK (5): MALCOLM BUTLER, LOGAN RYAN, CYRUS JONES, JUSTIN COLEMAN, JONATHAN JONES
Many suspected that the Patriots would keep an undrafted rookie corner as their fifth man at the position, but fewer suspected that it would be Jonathan Jones. Cre'Von LeBlanc had an impressive camp, but Jones' ability to play the run and contribute on special teams may have made him the favorite in that competition. Jones was one of the fastest players at this year's combine, running a 4.33-second 40-yard dash.
SAFETY (6): DEVIN McCOURTY, PATRICK CHUNG, DURON HARMON, JORDAN RICHARDS, NATE EBNER, BRANDON KING
This group has been as consistent as any other through training camp and the preseason.
SPECIALISTS (3): STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI, RYAN ALLEN, JOE CARDONA
There was no threat of change to this trio going into Week 1.