2020 Patriots 53-man roster projection: Surprise addition at receiver
We have no idea as to when NFL teams will begin regular-season play, but we know how many roster spots they'll have to play with when they do.
That wasn't always the case this offseason. But since the passage of the new collective bargaining agreement, jobs have been created for players. There will still be 53 active-roster spots per team when the regular season begins, though teams will have the ability to bump that number to 55 if they choose to temporarily promote two practice-squad players. The catch? Teams can only pull off that temporary promotion a couple of times with the same player in a given season. On game days, teams can activate 48 players (up from the previous max of 46) if they have eight offensive linemen in uniform.
Clubs are also provided 12 practice-squad spots (up from the previous max of 10), which gives them more bodies to choose from in the event they do want to pull off a temporary promotion. It may not seem like much, but that could be the difference between a team being able to hold onto a James Develin or Danny Amendola type — both former p-squadders — and not.
Here we're projecting the initial 53-man roster for the Patriots after they're forced to cut down from 90. But we've also made sure to include an initial 12-man p-squad roster, highlighting a couple of names who could be promoted quickly.
Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
Unless Cam Newton is headed to Foxboro, this looks like the tandem the Patriots will roll with in 2020. J'Mar Smith possesses some intriguing traits as an undrafted signee and would be a nice fit on the practice squad.
RUNNING BACK (4)
James White, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris
Brandon Bolden could very well end up on the roster as a key piece in the kicking game. But for a cap-strapped team like the Patriots, Bolden — whose release would save the Patriots about $1.5 million — feels like a player on the bubble.
Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Will Hastings, Matthew Slater
Hastings, who had a nice rapport with Stidham at Auburn, is this year's undrafted rookie pick to make the club. For now. He's a backup slot option — the Patriots have been looking for help inside for a while — with impressive quicks. He also has experience executing a variety of creative onside kicks for Kevin Kelley (also known as the coach who never punts) as a high schooler at Pulaski Academy. The more you can do...
TIGHT END (4)
Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Matt LaCosse, Dan Vitale
LaCosse remains after an injury-plagued first season with the Patriots. He could be a veteran stopgap in a tight-end room that got very young very quickly on draft weekend. Vitale is the fullback choice here over Jakob Johnson.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Michael Onwenu, Yodny Cajuste, Korey Cunningham
We went with Onwenu, whose size and power are rare, as the backup guard choice. Cajuste, a third-rounder from a year ago, gets a spot as a swing option. Cunningham, who has NFL experience and spent all last year with the Patriots, adds even more tackle depth.
Dustin Woodard looks like an ideal p-squad promotion candidate. With two extra game-day roster spots available to teams, as long as eight linemen are active, Belichick could activate Woodard as a center-specific backup.
Justin Rohrwasser, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona
Is Rohrwasser, a fifth-round choice out of Marshall, going into camp without any competition? In 2006, after spending a fourth-round pick on Stephen Gostkowski, the team also brought in Martin Gramatica for training camp.
DEFENSIVE LINE (4)
Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Byron Cowart, Beau Allen
Danny Shelton out. Beau Allen in. Cowart (pictured), going into his second season, has a chance to provide a little more bulk for a group that was run over in the Wild Card Round last season.
Deatrich Wise has been a contributing linemen for the Patriots since his arrival in 2017, but in the Patriots scheme -—which utilizes lighter outside linebackers to defend the edge rather than defensive ends — he's a bit of a scheme misfit.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)
Dont'a Hightower, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Josh Uche, Cassh Maluia
Uche looks like a nice versatile piece to move around the Patriots front seven, but his skills in coverage and as a blitzer — as well as his 6-foot-1, 245-pound frame — make him seem like more of a fit for this group.
Maluia, who's a tad undersized but plays with eye-opening aggression, looks like a special-teams option who could eventually fill an Elandon Roberts-style role defensively.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)
John Simon, Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings, Brandon Copeland, Shilique Calhoun
Snaps available here! Kyle Van Noy's departure opens up a gig for a three-down player on the end of the line of scrimmage. Will that be Winovich? Jennings? Some combination of the two?
Calhoun and Copeland are accomplished special-teamers, but they may be needed defensively given the experience lost this offseason.
Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Joejuan Williams, Jonathan Jones, Justin Bethel
Nothing to analyze too closely here.
There are a couple of undersized, under-the-radar options who could make some noise — D'Angelo Ross, Myles Bryant — but they land on the p-squad in this projection.
Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Kyle Dugger, Terrence Brooks, Cody Davis, Adrian Phillips
Headlined by two longtime staples and loaded up with special-teamers, this is exactly the kind of safety room Bill Belichick will love.
PRACTICE SQUAD (12)
- OL Dustin Woodard
- OL Hjalte Froholdt
- OL Justin Herron
- FB Jakob Johnson
- WR Jeff Thomas
- WR Gunner Olszewski (pictured)
- TE Jake Burt
- QB J'Mar Smith
- DB D'Angelo Ross
- DB Myles Bryant
- DL Nick Thurman
- LB De'Jon Harris