Well, we can almost smell the fresh-cut grass of training camp (we think). NFL camps will open up at some point, and then the competition for the final roster will be on.
We went through the roster, and we completed our initial 53-man roster for the Patriots.
A few caveats:
- Obviously this is unlike any other offseason, so we're not exactly sure what kind of shape anyone is in, nor are we sure which players will start on the Physically Unable to Perform List. We're going with the thought that everyone will be healthy at some point.
- Everything will be decided on the field. Doesn't really matter what kind of workouts someone had in the offseason — SoAndSo is poised for a breakout season because they've never worked harder says the trainer who's being paid by the player! ... How many times have we heard that over the years? — if you don't pick up the scheme, or show that you're coachable, or mesh with your teammates. So much is unknown.
- Many final roster spots are determined by the overall health of the team ... whenever we get to September.
That being said, there's a ton of great competition this year in camp. Don't think the end-of-the-roster depth is quite is good as last year, but there will be some compelling battles.
Obviously the change in quarterback will have a huge impact on the makeup of this roster, no matter who winds up being the starter. Will they take fewer receivers than in year's past if the QB can't air it out like Brady (will the team ever hit 45 or 50 pass attempts in a game?). Already looks like they'll take more tight ends/fullbacks. Does the offensive line need beefing up? How many veteran defensive players are they going to keep around this year?
Love this time of year. This is the fun stuff.
So let's get on with the initial offering. The highlights:
- I'm trading Deatrich Wise to the Lions or the Dolphins, where he would be a better fit with his former defensive coordinators, who will allow him to play more of the 4-3 end he's suited for. Patriots need more speed on the edge, and beef inside.
- I'm releasing or trading one 2019 draft pick, fourth-round pick Hjlate Froholdt, and I contemplated trading another in third-round pick Damien Harris. Oh, this is controversial? How many of you had Bill Belichick trading 2018 second-round pick Duke Dawson in his second training camp? Oh, and three more 2018 draft picks (Christian Sam, Braxton Berrios and Keion Crossen) were either cut or traded last year as well.
One thing to keep in mind: I wouldn't get too caught up on not releasing players in order to recover compensatory picks (and this also would increase the chances of a Joe Thuney trade). With the Patriots having