Using game-day active list to craft 53-man

August, 25, 2012
8/25/12
6:29
PM ET
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.

Quarterback:
2 active (18 games in 2011): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer
3 active (1 game): Brady, Hoyer, Ryan Mallett

On the edge: None
On the outside: None

Running back:
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

Fullback:
0 active (15 games)
1 active (4 games): Spencer Larsen

On the edge: Larsen
On the outside: Eric Kettani

Wide receiver:
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

On the edge: Gaffney, Stallworth
On the outside: Jeremy Ebert, Jesse Holley

Tight end:
2 active (12 games): Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez
3 active (5 games): Gronkowski, Hernandez, Daniel Fells
1 active (2 games): Gronkowski

On the edge: None
On the outside: Visanthe Shiancoe, Alex Silvestro, Tyler Urban, Jake Ballard (PUP)

Offensive line:
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

On the edge: Thomas, McDonald, Koppen
On the outside: Matt Kopa, Darrion Weems, Jeremiah Warren, Derek Dennis, Dustin Waldron, Markus Zusevics (NFI), Brian Waters (Did Not Report)

Defensive end:
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

On the edge: Scott, Francis
On the outside: Jake Bequette, Tim Bulman

Defensive tackle:
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

On the edge: Deaderick, Warren
On the outside: Marcus Forston, Marcus Harrison, Myron Pryor (PUP)

Linebacker:
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

Cornerback:
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

On the edge: Moore, Cole
On the outside: Alfonzo Dennard, Malcolm Williams, Ross Ventrone, Derrick Martin

Safety:
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

On the edge: Ihedigbo, Barrett
On the outside: Will Allen, Sergio Brown

Specialists:
3 active (13 games): Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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