Building the Patriots’ all-time 53-man roster

The New England Patriots were founded in 1960, but they didn’t really start seeing the major success as an organization until—well, we all know the man who changed that for us, Tom Brady.

If the Patriots were able to field a 53-man roster with all-time Patriots in their prime, who would that roster consist of? Before we even get into that, players would need to have been in New England for two or more seasons to be considered eligible.

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We don’t want one-off camp tryouts or last-ditch efforts by veterans because that would simply make an elite roster. Guys like Chad Johnson, Antonio Brown and others would be fun, but that wouldn’t be fair to those who played meaningful seasons for the Patriots.

Just imagine this 53-man all-time Patriots roster taking the field:

Quarterbacks (3)

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  • Tom Brady

  • Drew Bledsoe

  • Steve Grogan

There is no question here. The greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, leads the charge, while two former prolific quarterbacks overshadowed by Brady’s success back him up. That’s two solid backups for the legend himself at the most important position.


Running Backs (4)


  • Curtis Martin

  • James White

  • LeGarrette Blount

  • Corey Dillon

Martin may have played only a few years, but he left his impact as a rusher and is still widely considered the best in New England.

Even so, we’re adding players in their prime. Martin, Blount, and Dillon would be lethal for opposing defenses, while James White rounds out the room as the best receiving back in Patriots’ history.

Sorry, Kevin Faulk.

Wide Receivers (5)

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Edelman, Welker, Moss, Morgan and Branch in their prime may be one of the more talented receiver rooms with different skill sets. Opponents would have a tough time stopping them with the greatest ever throwing them the ball.


Tight Ends (2)

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  • Rob Gronkowski

  • Ben Coates

We only need two tight ends here because Gronkowski is one of the best tight ends to ever play the game. Coates is no slouch, either.

The Patriots would be one of the more dynamic offenses with a prime Gronkowski, Edelman, Moss, and Morgan as their primary pass-catchers.

Offensive Line (9)

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  • John Hannah

  • Logan Mankins

  • Dan Koppen

  • Jon Morris

  • Matt Light

  • Bruce Armstrong

  • Nate Solder

  • Sebastian Vollmer

  • Shaq Mason

John Hannah is one of the best offensive lineman in NFL history. He can play tackle or guard in this all-time offense. Hannah, Mankins, Koppen, Mason and Armstrong would be a truly elite offensive line. Solder, Vollmer, Light and Morris offer depth across the board.


Defensive Line (4)

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  • Richard Seymour

  • Vince Wilfork

  • Ty Warren

  • Deatrich Wise

The Patriots love their versatility across the defensive line, and they’ll have it with a menace in Seymour regardless of where he lines up. They’d also have a true run-stuffer in Wilfork and a pair of versatile defenders in Ty Warren and Deatrich Wise providing depth.

EDGE (5)

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This is a scary unit.

Tippett, McGinest, Jones, Judon and Ninkovich will create mismatches, rushing the passer and giving the Patriots many different looks while doing so.


Just imagine Tippett, McGinest, Judon and Jones all rushing the passer on 3rd-and-7. That’s nightmare fuel for whatever poor quarterback is on the other side.

Linebackers (5)

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  • Dont’a Hightower

  • Tedy Bruschi

  • Mike Vrabel

  • Jerrod Mayo

  • Ted Johnson

The Patriots value linebackers who can thump in the run game but also contribute on third downs. Hightower may be the best of the bunch.

Good luck getting away from Hightower and Bruschi, while EDGE rushers Chandler Jones, Willie McGinest and Andre Tippett barrel the pocket.

Cornerback (6)

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Revis didn’t have enough years to be eligible, but imagine him with this group. Still, this is an embarrassment of riches with an elite front-seven in place.

Why not add some shutdown corners like Ty Law, Stephon Gilmore and Aqib Talib, while Asante Samuel, Raymond Clayborn and Malcolm Butler keep them fresh with substitutions?

Safeties (4)

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  • Devin McCourty

  • Rodney Harrison

  • Lawyer Milloy

  • Patrick Chung

As if the Patriots’ all-time defense wasn’t good enough. McCourty and Harrison pack a one-two punch like no other, and Milloy and Chung can operate as hybrid linebackers on running downs.


The Patriots surely have depth across the secondary, and two elites safeties to clean up the messes that will hardly ever happen with the elite front-seven and cornerback rooms.

Special Teams (6)

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Special teams matter, too, and the Patriots are lucky to have some dominant ones. Gostkowski, Allen and Cardona would create a nice trio, while Slater mans down the fort as the only true special teamer. Cappelletti is an extremely versatile weapon that the all-time team would value, and Troy Brown is an elite returner who would also spell some of the receivers in a long 17-game schedule.

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Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire