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Analysis: Breaking down Patriots initial 2020 practice squad

The Patriots set their initial 16-man practice squad, with waiting reinforcements at some critical spots.


The Patriots have set their initial 16-man practice squad on Sunday, a unit comprised of entirely of players that have been in camp with the team. The team has almost wrapped up their roster as they turn their sights to Week One, with Injured Reserve designations the last factor that could cause some shifts to the active roster.

For now, let's jump into the initial practice squad which is all familiar faces. That's a product of this strange preseason and the Patriots were lucky be able to retain all their own players.

Most significant are the developmental parts the offense has at receiver, running back and tight end. In a season where the team must uncover some new dynamic threats, they have a lot of young players to take a look at.

For the defense, they have a similar slate of developmental pieces at all three levels and any could get a chance to contribute at some point.

Here's a rundown of the initial 16:


Jake Burt, TE, 2020 UDFA

With two rookies already on the 53-man roster, Burt provides another layer of depth on the practice squad. The local product continues to live his Patriots dream.

J.J. Taylor, RB, 2020 UDFA

Taylor gets some more time to shine after an active preseason that had his position coach Ivan Fears lamenting having to make a decision without seeing Taylor against live contact. The diminutive back will have to learn to play bigger as he navigates the practice squad but has some electricity to his game.

Isaiah Zuber, WR, 2020 UDFA

Zuber was the most consistent rookie receiver this summer and his contributions as a returner could give him an opportunity at some point to crack the team on special teams.

Devin Ross, WR, 2019 UDFA

One of the standouts from the early days of camp, Ross faded a bit down the stretch but made remarkable strides in his first season behind the scenes. If the Patriots aren't getting enough from their young playmakers, Ross could be the first one to get a chance.

Paul Quessenberry, FB, 2015 UDFA

Quessenberry joined the Patriots mid-camp, after finishing up five years in the Marines. The Naval Academy grad is a feel-good story and will continue to get a chance to pick his football career back up.


Nick Thurman, DL, 2018 UDFA/HOU

Thurman is back for his second season on the Patriots practice squad as he continues to develop along the defensive line. He has some versatility that brings good value.

Bill Murray, DT, 2020 UDFA

Murray had a knack for blocking kicks in college and will be an important practice squad addition with limited depth at defensive tackle. The Patriots could use a developmental young defensive lineman, hopefully Murray blossoms.

Xavier Williams, DT, five-year NFL veteran

Williams takes up a veteran spot and provides some experienced depth along the defensive line. Williams could find himself back up on the main roster as soon as this week. He didn't jump out in camp, but could be valuable insurance.

Tashaun Bower, DL, 2017 UDFA/MIN

Bower is back after joining the team in November of 2019. A defensive lineman, he'll provide more practice squad experience in the front.

Rashod Berry, Edge, 2020 UDFA

Berry was a versatile player on both sides of the ball at Ohio State but appears to be settling in along the edge. He showed good athleticism and improvement in training camp and might still be able to play a little tight end.

Terez Hall, LB, 2019 UDFA

Hall made strides in his second training camp and will again start the year on the practice squad. He made some plays in training camp as an inside linebacker.

Caash Maluia, LB, 2020 6th-round pick

Maluia had a strong start to camp but was hampered by an injury later. With two rookie linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart, Maluia will have a chance to get healthy and continue to develop. He is still a promising young player.

Myles Bryant, CB, 2020 UDFA

Bryant had arguably the best training camp of any undrafted rookie, earning praise from the McCourty brothers who gave him an "IT" nickname after former Celtic Isaiah Thomas. Bryant is a feisty competitor and made some good plays on the ball throughout camp. He's a good developmental piece in a loaded secondary.

D'Angelo Ross, CB, 2019 UDFA

After spending 2019 on the Patriots practice squad, Ross is back to further his development. Like Bryant, he's a tough inside cornerback and will help provide valuable depth.

Special Teams

Justin Rohrwasser, K, 2020 5th-round pick

Rohrwasser is back after never finding any consistency in training camp, possibly due to an injury. He started to kick the ball better toward the end, but still seems well behind Nick Folk. The Patriots will hope to develop Rohrwasser behind the scenes, but he could be called upon sooner than later if the season gets complicated.

Nick Folk, K, 12-year veteran

Most years Folk would never be eligible for the practice squad but this year the Patriots are able to use the rules to their advantage as the kicker competition continues into the regular season.

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