The New England Patriots are heading into 2019 attempting to do something that no other NFL team has been able to do; win seven Super Bowls. Given that New England walked out of 2018 with another Lombardi Trophy in-hand, there wasn't much tweaking that was needed to the gameday roster.
That said, the Pats did just have an offseason where they saw defensive end Trey Flowers depart in free agency, while tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement, so there was some work to be done. The team replaced Flowers with the likes of Michael Bennett, while they are looking more to receivers and the backfield to help cushion the blow of losing Gronk.
This summer gave folks glimpses of the 2019 Patriots' potential and now we're getting a better glimpse of who will be along for the ride in what Robert Kraft and company hope is another banner year.
Here's a look at the Patriots' 53-man roster and how the depth chart shakes out heading into Week 1 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.
|QB||Tom Brady||Jarrett Stidham|| || |
|RB||Sony Michel||James White||Rex Burkhead||Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden|
|FB||James Develin |
|LWR||Phillip Dorsett||Gunner Olszewski||Matthew Slater|
|RWR||Josh Gordon||Demaryius Thomas|| |
|SWR||Julian Edelman||Jakobi Meyers|
|TE||Ryan Izzo||Matt LaCosse|
|LT||Isaiah Wynn||Korey Cunningham|
|LG||Joe Thuney||Jermaine Eluemunor|
|C||Ted Karras||Russell Bodine|| |
|RG||Shaq Mason|| |
|RT||Marcus Cannon|| |
The story is really about who isn't on this list, rather than who is on it.
The Patriots will have an open roster spot to begin the year as veteran tight end Ben Watson serves his four-game suspension.
Meanwhile, starting center David Andrews' year is over after the team placed him on seasoning-ending IR after it was revealed that he's dealing with blood clots in his lungs. In response to that ailment that Andrews is facing, the Patriots will slot Ted Karras in at center to start the year and have acquired tackle Korey Cunningham and guard Jermaine Eluemunor in trade with the Cardinals and Ravens to strengthen the o-line.
At the receiver spot, New England placed 2019 first round pick N'Keal Harry on short-term IR due to an ankle injury. This is a rather significant blow to the offense as the Pats were hoping that Harry could jump in and begin contributing from the get-go.
The team did release veteran Demaryius Thomas during cut downs, but that was a temporary move as they re-signed him shortly after. With him back the fold, it at least brings some depth to the unit, but there is some questions regarding how dependable Thomas, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, and Josh Gordon, who has battled substance abuse throughout his career, can be this year.
|DE||Deatrich Wise Jr.||Chase Winovich|
|DT||Danny Shelton||Adam Butler|
|DT||Lawrence Guy||Byron Cowart|
|DE||Michael Bennett||John Simon|
|LB||Dont'a Hightower||Jamie Collins Sr.|
|LB||Elandon Roberts||Ja'Whaun Bentley|
|LB||Kyle Van Noy||Shilique Calhoun|
|LCB||Jason McCourty||J.C. Jackson||Joejuan Williams|
|RCB||Stephon Gilmore||Jonathan Jones|
|FS||Devin McCourty||Duron Harmon||Obi Melifonwu|
|SS||Patrick Chung||Terrence Brooks||Nate Ebner|
New England's defensive unit has the potential to be one of the best in all the NFL this season.
Outside of Flowers, the Patriots had a large chunk of the defense that allowed just three points in Super Bowl LIII, return. Bill Belichick and company also did a fine job at replacing Flowers with the addition of Michael Bennett. He can line up both on the edge or inside in similar fashion to how they used Flowers during his tenure. Third round defensive end/linebacker Chase Winovich also figures to see some work off the edge.
While the front seven will certainly be a strength of this unit, New England's secondary is arguably the deepest position on the roster. Stephon Gilmore is coming off a first team All-Pro season, Jason McCourty was re-signed in the offseason and J.C. Jackson is coming off a rookie season where he allowed the lower passer rating in the league. Those corners are coming back, while they also are bringing in second-round pick Joejuan Williams.
As for at safety, it's the usual cast of characters with Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon, three veterans who should continue to have success in 2019.
|K||Stephen Gostkowski|| |
|LS||Joe Cardona|| |
|PR||Julian Edelman||Patrick Chung|
After the Patriots released veteran punter Ryan Allen earlier this preseason, the specialist unit is pretty cut and dry with fifth round pick Jake Bailey winning the starting punter job. With Gostkowski, he's set to enter his 14th season with the Patriots.