The New England Patriots have 37 decisions to make by September 3.
With the preseason is winding down and Week 1 of the regular season on the horizon, the New England Patriots will have a number of decisions to make, 37 decisions in fact. That is, by September 3rd, the team must carve their roster down from 90 to 53.
As the Patriot’s roster is filled with highly skilled players and big names, the team will have it’s work cut out for them when deciding who will make the final 53-man roster. Not to mention, head coach Bill Belichick is notorious for the surprise cuts, as it seems as though every year at least one household name fails to make the squad. With that being said, here are some big names that could be cut prior to the start of the regular season.
LeGarrette Blount – Blount has been with the team since 2013, and more often than not has been the starter in the backfield, including on the Super Bowl winning club in 2014. Blount’s impressive size has made him a fixture in the offense, especially at the goal line. However, the Oregon product seems to be on the back end of his career, as his production has gone down, as well as his reps in games.
With the emergence of Dion Lewis last season, as well as the breakout of backup man James White, there just may not be a spot for Blount on the running back depth chart. Not to mention, James Develin will be a shoe-in for the fullback spot, Brandon Bolden will certainly be included for special teams needs, and after being sidelined by injury for two consecutive seasons, veteran Tyler Gaffney has impressed in the preseason.
All of these things considered, it would be somewhat of a surprise if Blount is on the roster for Week 1.
Aaron Dobson – This may just be the year that the Aaron Dobson experiment finally comes to a close. After being drafted in the second round by the team back in 2013, Dobson’s now three year career has been filled with nothing more than injuries and missed opportunities.
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With ideal deep threat size at 6’3”and 200 pounds, Dobson has yet to become the player the team hoped he would be when the spent the early draft pick on him three years ago. After a mediocre 37 reception, 4 touchdown season in his rookie campaign, Dobson only managed to stay on the field for 12 games combined the following two seasons, which included a total of 16 catches and no touchdowns. There is a good chance Dobson may be the odd man out in the wide receiver corps, which features the likes of Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and newly acquired Chris Hogan.
The team also seems to be high on Keshawn Martin, as well as this year’s fourth round draft pick Malcolm Mitchell out of Georgia. And of course, we can’t forget Matthew Slater, arguably the best special teamer in the NFL, who will presumably take the 6th receiver spot. Dobson could save himself with an impressive preseason, but his track record deems that highly unlikely.
Bryan Stork – Coming off a season in which the offensive line was in shambles, and the coaching staff was constantly mixing and matching players attempting to find the ideal unit to protect quarterback Tom Brady, the need for a consistent line and solid depth was crucial for the New England Patriots coming into this season.
As a result of this, the team loaded up on line depth, as 17 of the 90 players on the preseason roster are offensive linemen. With presumably only nine of these 17 players making the roster, nearly half of them will be cut, and there is a good chance Bryan Stork will be one of them. Stork had a highly impressive rookie season in 2014, being a fixture on the line all the way through the team’s run to the Super Bowl.
However, after an injury-plagued season last year, the emergence of undrafted rookie David Andrews in his place loosened Stork’s grip on the starting center position. With other linemen capable of shifting from guard to tackle, Stork’s position limitation leaves his roster hopes in a battle between he and Andrews.
As Andrews continues to prove himself more than capable of handling the job, and Stork’s rocky preseason which includes practice ejections, it seems as though Andrews will find himself starting for the Patriots week 1 and Stork will be in search for a new team.