New England Patriots: Roster Locks
The New England Patriots initially looked as though their defense was in trouble after the loss of Trey Flowers. However, this may just be the best defense in a very long time in New England. It makes the annual roster cut-down even more difficult on head coach Bill Belichick.
To start off my roster predictions, I want to simply point out the roster locks. It’s easy to look at the top-dogs in the Patriots roster like Tom Brady and say he will make it, then it is explaining why Brian Hoyer can or can’t do the same. I initially have 30 roster locks, which leaves 23 open spots for some other guys. Here are those locks: Brady, Jarrett Stidham, Sony Michel, James White, James Develin, Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Matthew Slater, Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Ted Karras, Shaq Mason, Hjalte Froholdt, Marcus Cannon, Michael Bennett, Chase Winovich, Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, JC Jackson, JoeJuan Williams, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner, Stephen Gostkowski, Joe Cardona, and Ben Watson.
Why Are They Locks?
For the most part, the locks are self-explanatory. For those that may not be too obvious, I will explain. Stidham was a fourth-round pick in this years draft and has been impressive enough to not risk being placed on the practice squad. Not to mention, the possibility of Stidham over-taking Hoyer’s spot as a backup.
Karras is a back-up offensive lineman. But there’s a certain something about Karras that makes him an important piece. He is versatile, playing all three interior offensive line positions. That versatility has been what has kept Karras on the Patriots since 2016 when he was drafted.
Some Young Blood On The Patriots?
Froholdt is another back-up offensive lineman. Being taken in the fourth round, Froholdt has value. That value makes it difficult to place him on the practice squad without being claimed by another team. It also helps that every NFL team needs to keep extra back-up linemen, and he helps the Pats as well. He isn’t versatile like Karras, but if Karras goes in for an injury, the Pats no longer have a versatile replacement. That’s when Froholdt can step in and help keep Karras from being over-utilized. He’s also very young, at just 22 years old.
Williams, a cornerback out of Vanderbilt, was taken by the Patriots in the second round. Again, the value from being a recent draft pick stumps a possibility of being cut. It also really helps that he has been very good in training camp thus far. Not to mention, the main pieces of the secondary are aging fast, and any young cornerbacks or safeties that challenge for a roster spot are even more valuable.
Ebner and Cardona are two guys that have been in New England for a while. Cardona is the Patriots only long snapper. Ebner has been a special teams ace, just like Slater over the years, and has been a roster lock the past few seasons.
There are certainly some names that can be considered “missing” or “snubbed” from the roster locks list. I fully expect a clash of opinions about this, so go ahead and share your thoughts.
Among a few guys who are really close to being locks are Jamie Collins Sr., Elandon Roberts, Derek Rivers, and Hoyer. I will dive into those players who hold really good chances of making the roster in my next piece! Stay tuned!
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