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Analyzing 2011 Patriots roster

The Patriots made nine selections in the 2011 NFL draft, and here is a snapshot look at the roster (rookies in italics):

Quarterback

Personnel: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Jonathan Crompton, Ryan Mallett

Quick hit: Brady and Hoyer are locks and the Patriots aren't going to cut Mallett after investing a third-round pick to select him. For the first time in two years, the Patriots project to keep three quarterbacks on the final roster.

Running back

Personnel: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Thomas Clayton, Eric Kettani

Quick hit: Green-Ellis, Woodhead, Vereen and Ridley are locks. After drafting Vereen (2nd round) and Ridley (3rd round), the Patriots might not have room for Kevin Faulk.

Wide Receiver

Personnel: Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater, Darnell Jenkins, Buddy Farnham, Tyree Barnes

Quick hit: One of the big debates leading into the draft was whether the Patriots needed a speed receiver. The Patriots drafted six players on offense, but no receivers. That could be viewed as a vote of confidence in the development of Tate (2009 third-round pick) and Price (2010 third-round pick).

Tight end

Personnel: Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Lee Smith, Carson Butler

Quick hit: Bill Belichick called Smith an "outstanding blocker" and if everyone is healthy, it's possible the Patriots could keep four tight ends on the roster.

Offensive tackle

Personnel: Sebastian Vollmer, Nick Kaczur, Nate Solder, Mark LeVoir, Steve Maneri

Quick hit: The arrival of Solder makes it less likely the Patriots will re-sign Matt Light at starter-like money. The Patriots kept Maneri on the initial 53-man roster at the start of 2010, over center/guard Ted Larsen, so he's someone to watch for as a swing tackle option.

Center/guard

Personnel: Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins*, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Rich Ohrnberger, Thomas Austin, Marcus Cannon

Quick hit: With Cannon the lone draft pick, and the possibility that he won't be ready after undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, this is a great opportunity for Connolly, Wendell, Ohrnberger and Austin to compete for full-time roles at guard.

Defensive line

Personnel: Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Marcus Stroud, Ron Brace, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor, Brandon Deaderick, Kade Weston, Kyle Love, Darryl Richard, Landon Cohen, Marlon Favorite

Quick hit: No rookie additions. Bill Belichick is counting on Warren and Wright to return to post-injury form -- a bit of a gamble -- while also banking on the development of the 2010 class of Deaderick, Weston and Love. Top question: Who plays right end?

Outside linebacker

Personnel: Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Tully Banta-Cain, Eric Moore, Marques Murrell, Markell Carter

Quick hit: Bill Belichick gives this group a vote of confidence by passing on Brooks Reed and Jabaal Sheard -- two top pass rushers -- with the opening pick of the second round.

Inside linebacker

Personnel: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Dane Fletcher

Quick hit: Group remains intact from 2010; youth and promise here.

Cornerback

Personnel: Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, Tony Carter, Thad Turner, Malcolm Williams

Quick hit: The Patriots have drafted a corner in the first or second round in each of the last four drafts, while also giving Bodden a four-year, $22 million contract over that time span.

Safety

Personnel: Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, James Sanders, Jarrad Page**, Sergio Brown, Josh Barrett, Bret Lockett, Ross Ventrone

Quick hit: No additions to this group, except for a new coach in Matt Patricia.

Specialists

Personnel: Stephen Gostkowski (kicker), Zoltan Mesko (punter), Matt Katula (long snapper)

Quick hit: All eyes will be on Gostkowski's return from a torn right quad muscle.

* assigned franchise tag

** a restricted free agent who returns if 2010 CBA rules are adopted