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Roster Breakdown: Specialists

With some down time before training camp we decided to do our first of what should be many looks at the roster. Today we conclude with the specialists.

Check out photos of Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski through the years.

Locks: Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona *


Long shots: None

BREAKDOWN: There's virtually no suspense at all here. Gostkowski remains one of the NFL's most dependable, strong-legged kickers, and reportedly signed a four-year contract with New England Wednesday worth just north of $17 million. Allen, meanwhile, has proven an excellent punter and sure-handed holder for Gostkowski's placekicks. The only reason there's an asterisk next to rookie Cardona's name is because he is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and as such, his military service status remains unclear, at least publicly, right now. If the Navy allows him to play in the NFL this season, he'll be New England's long snapper. Bill Belichick drafted him for that express purpose. If Cardona is forced, however, to begin his active duty service in the near future, then the Patriots would have to scrounge up a long snapper, possible their most recent one, free agent Danny Aiken. Otherwise, it's Cardona's job.


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