QB (3) Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan MallettRB (6) Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden, Spencer Larsen, Jeff DempsWR (5) Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Matthew Slater, Julian EdelmanTE (3) Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel FellsC (1) Ryan WendellG (4) Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Nick McDonald, Donald ThomasT (3) Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Marcus CannonDE (4) Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, Trevor Scott, Justin FrancisDT (4) Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Ron Brace, Brandon DeaderickILB(6) Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Donta Hightower, Bobby Carpenter, Jeff Tarpinian, Niko KoutouvidesOLB(2) Jermaine Cunningham, Rob NinkovichCB (5) Kyle Arrington, Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore, Marquice ColeSS (2) Steve Gregory, Josh BarrettFS (2) Patrick Chung, Tavon WilsonST (3) Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Aiken, Zoltan Mesko
My Predictions of Who Makes the Team
New England Patriots, of course.
It's one of the requirements of being a WP blogger--rooting for the big boys down in Foxboro.
I like Justin Francis making the team. He has come out of no where. Along with undrafted running back Brandon Bolden. It's good for players coming into training camp to think they have a chance on making the team if they work hard and perform, whether heralded or not. This sends a good message.
Total players: 53
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Notice how I disagree with all three ESPN writers who don't include Josh Barrett, last year's starter, on the team in favor of James Ihedigbo. I'm a fan of Barrett, who is another big, fast special teamer, too.
Some people neglect the very versatile offensive lineman Nick McDonald--whose little brother, Chris, is a star offensive guard for the Michigan State Spartans--who can play all five positions on the field. Cutting long-time player Dan Koppen is certain to rankle feathers, including the team's owner Bob Kraft.
But it's a numbers game with the undersized Koppen. Both Connolly and McDonald were effective last year as center. And cutting Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth really hurt. But I can't turn my back on Deion Branch, whom everyone says has lost a step, but he was flying around in last year's Super Bowl like the days of old. If only Brady looked at him a little more.
Of course after the final cuts have been made across the league, it's expected a player or two or three will be called in.
The most controversial inclusion is full back. I really hope we have one this year. Spencer Larsen is a good player who has been injured for much of this training camp. But I like an offensive wrinkle for the Pats of old-time football.
Keep a fullback!
And keep your eye on troubled but talented corner back they drafted in a late round from Nebraska, Alfonzo Dennard, who has missed most of training camp with an injury. A lot of fans won't want to see him cut, when his potential is greater than Cole's.
But Coach Belichick can only go by what he sees. Maybe tonight's game with open some eyes.
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