Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/30/12
The New England Patriots have gathered a whole lot of talent this offseason via the draft, free-agency, and contract extensions.

At some positions, some may say they gathered too much talent. While this is not a bad problem to have, it is still a problem nonetheless. Cuts have to be made, and players must fall on the depth chart.

Who will be in the starting mix?

Running Back 

Projected order:
Steven Ridley, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden

Analysis:
From what I have heard, Steven Ridley has been getting most of the first-string snaps, and he has not fumbled once so far in training camp. That looks like a good sign for the second year player out of LSU, who amassed 441 yards rushing in his rookie season on just 87 carries.

Brandon Bolden, the undrafted rookie from Mississippi, has reportedly been extremely impressive in the first few days of camp, while second-year player Shane Vereen has struggled. However, Vereen was a second-round pick, so it is definitely too early to give up hope. Danny Woodhead is Danny Woodhead; a versatile third-down back who is small and shifty and should be a lock to make the roster.

I think all of these players will make the final cut, as each one of them can help the running game in a unique way.

Linebacker

Projected Order:
Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Donta’ Hightower, Rob Ninkovich, Bobby Carpenter, Tracy White, Dane Fletcher

Analysis:
This position is loaded with deep talent. I think that the locks for starting jobs (or a least a lot of playing time) are Mayo, Spikes, and Hightower. These guys have been phenomenal in camp and are proven leaders. Ninkovich is a strong pass-rusher who can also stop the run.

Carpenter has apparently been great in camp so far, even if his seven year career up until now has been a disappointment.  Tracy White is a solid special team’s player, which could give him the edge over Fletcher. However, I will put Fletcher on the roster just because he has shown in the past that he is capable of making big plays and that he is familiar with the system.

Wide Receiver

Projected Order:
Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Donte’ Stallworth, Matthew Slater, Julian Edelman

Analysis:
Yes, I have Gaffney, Branch, and Stallworth all on my list. Why? Because they have all been impressive in camp thus far. I was hesitant to put Stallworth on it, but after hearing Coach Bill Belichick talk about how much he has matured on and off the field as a player and a leader I decided to change my mind.

Lloyd and Welker are obviously locks, as well as Slater (he is the special teams captain). Edelman could be in for a surprise cut, but I think his value on special teams is too great. Odds are that Gaffney is a lock as well due to his versatility at the receiver position.

There is a [good] chance that Branch and Stallworth will be fighting for that last spot, but I think there is also a chance that they both make it. Both players have apparently made some incredible catches over the last few days and their rapport with quarterback Tom Brady is evident.

No matter who gets cut at the receiver position, it is clearly the deepest part of the roster.
 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

When will it be OK to worry about Clayton Kershaw?

LeBron James wanted Cavs to trade Kyrie Irving for Chris Paul after 2016 title?

Ivy League-educated ex-NFL player questions recent CTE study

Timberwolves seriously exploring Kyrie Irving trade

Is there really such a thing as a Cubs World Series baby boom?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Some coaches expect Tom Brady to 'dramatically age’

Cavs reportedly wanted to sign Rose before Irving trade request

Report: Whitehead changed his story to Cowboys multiple times

Report: Novak Djokovic could miss rest of season with elbow injury

Reggie Jackson praises, urges caution with Aaron Judge

Panthers QB Cam Newton shows up to camp in best shape of career

The 'Cooperstown: The New Class' quiz

For the revitalized Pirates, trade deadline has newfound meaning

Every MLB team's best and worst deadline trade from the last 25 years

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

The most memorable moments from the class of 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

Box Score 7/25: The pressure of the trade deadline is here

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

For the revitalized Pirates, trade deadline has newfound meaning

The 'Cooperstown: The New Class' quiz

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker