Breaking down Patriots' 53-man roster

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
4:55
PM ET
Breaking down the New England Patriots' 53-man roster:

QUARTERBACK (3)

Tom Brady
Jimmy Garoppolo
Ryan Mallett

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)

Shane Vereen
James White
Stevan Ridley
Brandon Bolden

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.

FULLBACK (1)

James Develin

Quick-hit thought: Hard-nosed player has earned everything he has coming to him.

TIGHT END (3)

Rob Gronkowski
Michael Hoomanawanui
Tim Wright

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)

Julian Edelman
Aaron Dobson
Danny Amendola
Brandon LaFell
Kenbrell Thompkins
Brian Tyms*

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)

LT Nate Solder
LG Josh Kline
C Ryan Wendell
RG Dan Connolly
RT Sebastian Vollmer
OT/G Marcus Cannon
C Bryan Stork
OT/G Jordan Devey
OT Cameron Fleming
G/LT Chris Barker

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)

Vince Wilfork
Dominique Easley
Sealver Siliga
Chris Jones
Joe Vellano
Zach Moore

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)

Chandler Jones
Dont'a Hightower
Rob Ninkovich
Michael Buchanan
Darius Fleming

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)

Jerod Mayo
Jamie Collins
Chris White

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.

CORNERBACK (5)

Darrelle Revis
Malcolm Butler
Logan Ryan
Alfonzo Dennard
Kyle Arrington
Brandon Browner*

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.

SAFETY (5)

Devin McCourty
Patrick Chung
Tavon Wilson
Duron Harmon
Nate Ebner

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.

SPECIALISTS (3)

P Ryan Allen
K Stephen Gostkowski
Captain Matthew Slater

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.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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