Patriots positional breakdown: What positions are deepest, weakest now that NFL draft is over

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By WEEI 93.7

Now that the NFL draft is over, it’s a good time to reassess where the Patriots roster stands with just a few months left before training camp.

For the most part, there won’t be any major additions, so what the roster looks like now is pretty much what it will look like when the team hits the field in July. 

Here’s a breakdown of the roster by position without undrafted rookie free agents, as those have not officially been announced.

By our count, the team has 79 players on the roster, but 12 roster spots left to fill as Jakob Johnson doesn’t count against the roster since he’s part of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program.

Quarterback (4): Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Danny Etling, Jarrett Stidham

Hoyer is among the best backups in the league and is a huge benefit to the team for what he does, so things will be interesting with Etling and Stidham. It’s a big spring and summer for Etling to prove he deserves to stick around, especially considering Stidham was selected in the fourth round and Etling the seventh.

Running back (7): Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, James Develin, Jakob Johnson

This position is fairly set, although it wouldn’t be a total shock to see someone else brought in over the summer to increase the competition. Based on numbers now, it seems likely five backs will make the opening 53-man roster.

Tight end (4): Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Stephen Anderson, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo

Tight end is the weakest position on the entire roster and certainly needs to be added to by the time training camp comes around, but that may be easier said than done.

Wide receiver (9): Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Maurice Harris, Bruce Ellington, Braxton Berrios, Matthew Slater, Damoun Patterson

If everyone is healthy, including Josh Gordon (who technically isn’t on the roster now), this position is OK for the most part, but there are a lot of question marks in terms of health. Another veteran or two should be a priority before training camp begins in late July.

Offensive line (15): Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Ted Karras, James Ferentz, Brian Schwenke, Dan Skipper, Cedrick Lang, Jake Eldrenkamp, Ryker Mathews, Yodny Cajuste, Hjalte Froholdt

Besides a swing tackle, this area is pretty much all set. With Wynn not playing at all last season due to injury, this is essentially his rookie season, so it may be worth exploring a veteran tackle to have around as an insurance policy.

Defensive line (14): Deatrich Wise, Lawrence Guy, Mike Pennel, Michael Bennett, Keionta Davis, Adam Butler, John Simon, Derek Rivers, Ufomba Kamalu, Trent Harris, Frank Herron, David Parry, Byron Cowart, Chase Winovich

This is another position that is OK, but another piece would make it even better. Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton were only really replaced with Pennel, so another big body up front would be nice.

Linebacker (7): Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Christian Sam, Brandon King, Calvin Munson

This is essentially the same group as last year, which will even deeper now that Bentley and Sam are healthy.

Cornerback(8): Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Keion Crossen, Jonathan Jones, Duke Dawson, Joejuan Williams, Ken Webster

Cornerback will be one of the most competitive positions during training camp with plenty of young players battling for roster spots. This will be a fun group to watch.

Safety (7): Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Obi Melifonwu, Terrence Brooks, Nate Ebner, A.J. Howard

This is another position that feels pretty safe. Brooks is a player to keep an eye on as he was given a high salary and could bump another core special teams player from a roster spot.

Specialists (4): Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona, Jake Bailey

Bailey and Allen will be battling for the punter position and with Allen only getting a one-year deal this offseason, if Bailey impresses over the summer it could be his job to lose.