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PFW: Pre-cut thoughts

Just one day before the Patriots must finalize the 53-man regular season roster the writers of Patriots Football Weekly offer their predictions on how some of the more interesting final cuts could unfold.

Which position poses the toughest decisions in the cut down to 53 players?

Fred Kirsch, PFW Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Wide receiver -- I love Troy Brown but right now he is the team's third wide receiver and I'm not sure that's what Bill Belichick and crew is looking for. Personally, I thought Jason Anderson did more to separate himself in this corps than anyone else, but alas. P.K. Sam, Bethel Johnson, David Terrell, Andre' Davis and Tim Dwight are all in a bunch as far as I'm concerned, although Dwight gets an edge because of what he's shown on punt returns.

Bryan Morry, PFW Editor: Wide receiver -- P.K. Sam is locked up for five years and has intriguing potential. David Terrell, at his current price, has good value for his experience and production level. I think it's too early to give up on Bethel Johnson, who at the very least can score touchdowns in the return game. And the team just dealt a draft pick for Andre' Davis. Only two, and maybe one, of those guys will make the roster.

Paul Perillo, PFW Assistant Editor: Wide receiver – What was thought to be a very deep position heading into camp has deteriorated into a mess. Injuries have prevented much true competition from taking place, and the only known quantities appear to be Deion Branch, David Givens and, to a lesser extent, Troy Brown. From there, Tim Dwight, David Terrell, P.K. Sam, Bethel Johnson and Andre' Davis are fighting for likely three spots. These will be tough decisions.

Andy Hart, PFW Staff Writer: Wide receiver – While I think the depth of this group has been overhyped, the bottom line is Andre' Davis, P.K. Sam, David Terrell and Bethel Johnson are probably battling for two roster spots. The recent trade for Davis and the team's interest in Peter Warrick and Peerless Price this past week says there is still room to grow at the position. None of the four has done much to earn a spot, so the decisions could be based as much on projections as anything else.

Which player will be a notable/surprise cut?

F.K.: Jed Weaver -- I thought he had an edge over Christian Fauria earlier in camp but he seems to have slipped off.

B.M.: Dan Klecko -- I actually have him on my 53 so I will be surprised if he goes. I still believe his versatility earns him a spot. That's valued here.

P.P.: Tom Brady – (just wanted to see if you were paying attention). Actually, Bethel Johnson – He just came back from an injury but judging from his comments following the Giants game, it seems the talented youngster still "doesn't get it." While P.K. Sam and David Terrell answered questions regarding their tenuous roster positions with class and respect, Johnson became belligerent and defensive, which points to an overall lack of maturity that many believe has prevented him from reaching his potential. He can be replaced.

A.H.: Duane Starks – Unless he goes on injured reserve with whatever injury has been keeping him out of action, I think there is a chance this talented veteran could be in trouble. He just hasn't done anything in camp. It's the same old story: he can play when healthy but hasn't been healthy. I understand the team will have wasted a third-round pick, but sometimes you have to cut your losses and the talent at cornerback could make that necessary. But even I would be surprised by my own prediction, so he probably sticks when all is said and done.

Which player will earn a surprise job on the opening day 53-man roster?

F.K.: Kory Chapman -- Not so much because of his ability but just the fact he wasn't even on my radar screen when training camp opened.

B.M.: Relative unknown Mike Wright might be the obvious choice here given that he has seen enough meaningful reps this summer to raise an eyebrow, but I'm going with Kory Chapman. I like his running style and I think he's earned another year with the club.

P.P.: Mike Wright – Who? That's right … I'm going with Wright. The Patriots lack a true backup nose tackle and the rookie free agent may be the closest thing they have without moving Ty Warren or someone else inside. The Cincinnati product has been productive with his chances and has been part of the kickoff and kick return teams during the summer. He has good athleticism for a man his size (6-4, 295) and could beat out the undersized Dan Klecko for a role.

A.H.: Mike Wright -- Paul stole my thunder on this one. Wright has shown up both defensively and on special teams. He clearly has good athleticism and has a more traditional build than Klecko in terms of serving as a potential backup nose tackle. He can play a variety of blocking and coverage roles in the kicking game and could probably serve as the short-yardage fullback. He has a bigger upside than Klecko and I think that could put him over the top in tomorrow afternoon's cuts.

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