With training camp looming, we’ve decided to rate the Patriots’ roster, counting down the most valuable from No. 90 to No. 1. “Valuable” can be defined on multiple levels, but for purposes of this exercise, we’re going to take a few different things into account: talent, dependability, track record of success in the system, and their individual spot on the depth chart. (Basically: How badly would things be if they were removed from the lineup?)
There are some cases — namely, the first-year players — where it’s tough to predict where they should land. But based on their performances in the spring workouts and having talked to teammates and people around the league, we took our best shot.
We continue our series today with No. 54 through No. 46. We’re starting to get into an important part of the roster. These are guys who — at least right now — project mostly as backups and complementary players. But if there’s an injury, trade or surprise cut, they could be thrust into a starting role at some point along the way.
54. Duke Dawson: Is this the beginning of the end for Cyrus Jones? Dawson, who was taken in the second round out of Florida, is a scrappy corner who is instantly part of the mix at the back end of that depth chart. (It’s a group that includes Cyrus and Jonathan Jones.) Dawson will make the team — it’s just going to be a matter of how many snaps he gets and where.
53. Brandon Bolden: I’m done leaving this special teamer and backup running back off my 53-man. It’s remarkable to think that he’s managed to outlast far more talented backs over the course of his career — in terms of overall years with the Patriots, he’s now one of the most senior members of the New England roster. Given Bill Belichick’s fondness for special teamers who can also serve as complementary players on either side of the ball, there's no reason to think Bolden won’t be the 53rd man on the roster again this year.