Analyzing 2011 Patriots roster

May, 1, 2011
The Patriots made nine selections in the 2011 NFL draft, and here is a snapshot look at the roster (rookies in italics):

Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Jonathan Crompton, Ryan Mallett
Quick hit: Brady and Hoyer are locks and the Patriots aren't going to cut Mallett after investing a third-round pick to select him. For the first time in two years, the Patriots project to keep three quarterbacks on the final roster.

Running back
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Thomas Clayton, Eric Kettani
Quick hit: Green-Ellis, Woodhead, Vereen and Ridley are locks. After drafting Vereen (2nd round) and Ridley (3rd round), the Patriots might not have room for Kevin Faulk.

Wide Receiver
Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater, Darnell Jenkins, Buddy Farnham, Tyree Barnes
Quick hit: One of the big debates leading into the draft was whether the Patriots needed a speed receiver. The Patriots drafted six players on offense, but no receivers. That could be viewed as a vote of confidence in the development of Tate (2009 third-round pick) and Price (2010 third-round pick).

Tight end
Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Lee Smith, Carson Butler
Quick hit: Bill Belichick called Smith an "outstanding blocker" and if everyone is healthy, it's possible the Patriots could keep four tight ends on the roster.

Offensive tackle
Sebastian Vollmer, Nick Kaczur, Nate Solder, Mark LeVoir, Steve Maneri
Quick hit: The arrival of Solder makes it less likely the Patriots will re-sign Matt Light at starter-like money. The Patriots kept Maneri on the initial 53-man roster at the start of 2010, over center/guard Ted Larsen, so he's someone to watch for as a swing tackle option.

Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins*, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Rich Ohrnberger, Thomas Austin, Marcus Cannon
Quick hit: With Cannon the lone draft pick, and the possibility that he won't be ready after undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, this is a great opportunity for Connolly, Wendell, Ohrnberger and Austin to compete for full-time roles at guard.

Defensive line
Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Marcus Stroud, Ron Brace, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor, Brandon Deaderick, Kade Weston, Kyle Love, Darryl Richard, Landon Cohen, Marlon Favorite
Quick hit: No rookie additions. Bill Belichick is counting on Warren and Wright to return to post-injury form -- a bit of a gamble -- while also banking on the development of the 2010 class of Deaderick, Weston and Love. Top question: Who plays right end?

Outside linebacker
Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Tully Banta-Cain, Eric Moore, Marques Murrell, Markell Carter
Quick hit: Bill Belichick gives this group a vote of confidence by passing on Brooks Reed and Jabaal Sheard -- two top pass rushers -- with the opening pick of the second round.

Inside linebacker
Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Dane Fletcher
Quick hit: Group remains intact from 2010; youth and promise here.

Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, Tony Carter, Thad Turner, Malcolm Williams
Quick hit: The Patriots have drafted a corner in the first or second round in each of the last four drafts, while also giving Bodden a four-year, $22 million contract over that time span.

Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, James Sanders, Jarrad Page**, Sergio Brown, Josh Barrett, Bret Lockett, Ross Ventrone
Quick hit: No additions to this group, except for a new coach in Matt Patricia.

Stephen Gostkowski (kicker), Zoltan Mesko (punter), Matt Katula (long snapper)
Quick hit: All eyes will be on Gostkowski's return from a torn right quad muscle.

* assigned franchise tag
** a restricted free agent who returns if 2010 CBA rules are adopted

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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