- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Breaking down the New England Patriots' 53-man roster:
Quick-hit thought: Could be the best depth chart, from top to bottom and with future upside in mind, in Bill Belichick's 15-year tenure.
RUNNING BACK (4)
Quick-hit thought: Bolden brings notable special-teams value, while there could be times we see plenty of Vereen and White on the field together.
Quick-hit thought: Hard-nosed player has earned everything he has coming to him.
TIGHT END (3)
Quick-hit thought: Promising start for Wright in the preseason finale, as he looks like the better complement to Gronkowski in "12 personnel" (e.g. one back, two TEs).
WIDE RECEIVER (5)
Quick-hit thought: Dobson's 50-snap performance Thursday night was a significant step in him being in position to help the team from the start of the regular season. Tyms doesn't count against the 53-man roster limit because of his four-game suspension.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)
Quick-hit thought: Unlike last year, when the Patriots were combing the waiver wire for developmental prospects, they ended up with a surplus in this all-important area.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (6)
Quick-hit thought: After Wilfork, who remains the rock in the middle, it's a young group with high upside.
DEFENSIVE END/OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)
Quick-hit thought: If Jones and Hightower are the top players on the edge, it could reduce Ninkovich's playing time (95 percent of the snaps last year).
INSIDE LINEBACKER (3)
Quick-hit thought: Looks a bit thin here and could be the area where the Patriots look closely at the waiver wire. Darius Fleming could add depth in this spot too.
Quick-hit thought: Belichick previously said that this is as deep of a group as he's had in recent memory. Next question: Who starts opposite Revis?
* Player doesn't count against the 53-man roster because of NFL suspension.
Quick-hit thought: Still a bit of a mystery as to how the safety spot next to McCourty will be handled, as there are a lot of options, including some cornerbacks who have seen time there.
Quick-hit thought: No snapper on the roster after the release of Danny Aiken, which would thrust Rob Ninkovich into that role unless the Patriots sign someone else or bring Aiken back. The Aiken release could be part of some initial roster management to preserve assets at other positions (e.g. Mallett, Barker) that the Patriots felt had value if they landed on the open market.