The New England Patriots came out of Tuesday with a new starting quarterback — and a finalized 53-man roster.
Though that roster is guaranteed to undergo at least a few alterations ahead of New England’s Sept. 12 season opener against the Miami Dolphins, here’s a look at the Patriots’ updated depth charts with final cuts now complete:
None (for now)
With Cam Newton gone, it’s Jones’ show. Barring catastrophe, he’ll be the Patriots’ Week 1 starter. Who’s his backup? Well, right now, no one. New England also released Brian Hoyer during final cuts. But Hoyer is expected to return in short order, likely after New England moves another player to injured reserve (N’Keal Harry, perhaps?). Jarrett Stidham begins the season on the physically unable to perform list and can return after six games. The Patriots could look to add another body to this position group, as well.
All signs point to White again being the Patriots’ primary pass-catching back. The rookie Stevenson projects as the top early-down backup behind Harris. Taylor could slot into the Rex Burkhead role as a versatile back who can contribute as a rusher and receiver. Stevenson and Taylor both turned in fantastic preseasons. Bolden’s biggest contributions likely will come on special teams.
Johnson likely won’t play 37 percent of offensive snaps like he did last season, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will find a way to keep his fullback involved.
The Patriots are expected to lean heavily on two-tight end sets after spending big on Henry and Smith. Henry (shoulder) didn’t play in the preseason, so we have yet to see those two high-priced free-agent additions on the field together in a game setting.
Meyers, Agholor and Bourne are the clear top three, as both Meyers and Bourne confirmed in recent weeks. The Patriots will be looking for more from Agholor, their most expensive wideout, after his uneven summer. Now that the initial 53 is set, it seems likely the Patriots will shift Harry to IR, which would sideline him until Week 4. That would leave Olszewski, an All-Pro punt returner who’s still developing as a wideout, as New England’s only depth option here.
LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Mike Onwenu
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Trent Brown
C/G Ted Karras
OT Justin Herron
OT Yodny Cajuste
G/T Yasir Durant
This starting five should be one of the NFL’s best. It’ll be interesting to see how trade acquisition Durant fits into the backup equation. He started 33 games at left tackle at Missouri and played both right tackle and right guard with the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2020 season.
Don’t be surprised if Barmore, the Patriots’ promising second-round draft pick, works his way into the starting lineup at some point this season. He saw substantial reps with the ones this summer and has three-down potential.
Kyle Van Noy
Hightower, Van Noy and Uche all can play on the edge and off the ball. Expect to see those three and Judon — who looked phenomenal in the preseason — on the field together in what should be a formidable pass-rush package.
Jonathan Jones (slot)
With Stephon Gilmore beginning the season on PUP, outside corner is a real area of concern for the Patriots’ otherwise well-stocked defense. Mills was Gilmore’s top replacement this summer and is the favorite to start Week 1 opposite Jackson. New England swung a trade for Wade, a fifth-round rookie, last week and could add another body to this group before their season opener. Gilmore will miss at least the first six games.
All three of these players should play major roles in New England’s defense. Phillips was one of the stars of training camp. Cody Davis is an emergency option who likely won’t play much, if at all, outside of special teams. One of the biggest non-QB surprises of cutdown day was the Patriots’ decision to release Myles Bryant, a versatile slot/safety hybrid who impressed as an undrafted rookie last season.
K Quinn Nordin
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
ST Matthew Slater
ST Brandon King
ST Cody Davis
Despite a seriously shaky performance in the Patriots’ second preseason game, Nordin beat out Nick Folk to win the kicker job, extending New England’s UDFA streak to 18 years.
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