- Mike Rodak, ESPN Staff Writer
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One way to create a 53-man roster projection is to craft it through the lens of the 46-man game-day active list. When the Patriots take the field on Sept. 9 for their regular season opener, they will do so with about half as many players as they've had for their first three preseason contests.
As a result, players who dress on game day have a clear-cut role for that game and within the scheme. The makeup of the remaining players -- the seven game-day inactives -- can change based on injuries and other factors, but generally the Patriots keep to a target number at each position of their game-day active roster.
Below is that breakdown for the 2011 season, with the slots filled by the 85 players currently on the roster in 2012, ignoring health concerns (such as with linebacker Tracy White), and based on participation in the first three preseason games.
There are 60 players filling these roles below, so not all players listed would be in line for 53-man roster spots. The players listed as being "on the edge" are the best guesses at those who are on the bubble.
On the edge: None
On the outside: None
4 active (12 games): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Jeff Demps
3 active (6 games): Ridley, Vereen, Woodhead
5 active (1 game): Ridley, Vereen, Woodhead, Demps, Brandon Bolden
On the edge: Demps, Bolden
On the outside: None
0 active (15 games)
1 active (4 games): Spencer Larsen
On the edge: Larsen
On the outside: Eric Kettani
5 active (12 games): Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Matthew Slater, Julian Edelman, Deion Branch
6 active (5 games): Welker, Lloyd, Slater, Edelman, Branch, Jabar Gaffney
7 active (2 games): Welker, Lloyd, Slater, Edelman, Branch, Gaffney, Donte' Stallworth
8 active (12 games): Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Donald Thomas, Nick McDonald/Dan Koppen
7 active (7 games): Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, Mankins, Connolly, Wendell, Thomas/McDonald
4 active (9 games): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham, Trevor Scott/Justin Francis
5 active (6 games): Jones, Ninkovich, Cunningham, Scott, Francis
3 active (4 games): Jones, Ninkovich, Cunningham
4 active (11 games): Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick/Gerard Warren
3 active (7 games): Wilfork, Love, Brace
5 active (1 game): Wilfork, Love, Brace, Deaderick, Warren
6 active (12 games): Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont'a Hightower, Bobby Carpenter, Tracy White, Niko Koutouvides
5 active (4 games): Mayo, Spikes, Hightower, Carpenter, White
7 active (2 games): Mayo, Spikes, Hightower, Carpenter, White, Koutouvides, Mike Rivera/Jeff Tarpinian
On the edge: Rivera, Tarpinian
On the outside: Aaron Lavarias
4 active (9 games): Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore/Marquice Cole
5 active (5 games): McCourty, Arrington, Dowling, Moore, Cole
3 active (5 games): McCourty, Arrington, Dowling
4 active (12 games): Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner
5 active (5 games): Chung, Gregory, Wilson, Ebner, James Ihedigbo/Josh Barrett
3 active (1 game): Chung, Gregory, Wilson
One way to create a 53-man roster projection is to craft it through the lens of the 46-man game-day active list. When the Patriots take the field on Sept.