The Patriots made a flurry of roster moves on Wednesday, one day before the team is set to hold its first practice of training camp.
From a roster standpoint, here are some points for discussion:
Thin at running back. The release of Joseph Addai leaves the Patriots with just four running backs on the roster: veteran Danny Woodhead, second-year backs Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen, and undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden. The biggest thing that sticks out with this group is the lack of experience. Do the Patriots bring in another veteran to replace Addai?
Free agent Kevin Faulk has stated repeatedly this offseason that he would like to return to the team. On his Twitter account Wednesday evening, Faulk tweeted that he has a "special ringtone" if the Patriots call, indicating that he has still yet to hear from the team. The Patriots also worked out former Packers running back Ryan Grant in April, and he remains on the market.
The Patriots do have three fullbacks on their roster, and Eric Kettani, the least experienced of that bunch, would be the most likely to take carries in training camp. However, the Patriots would likely prefer to limit carries for its projected top backs in the preseason, and doing so may require an extra body on the roster.
Thin along offensive line. Unless they add a player on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, the Patriots have only 10 offensive linemen -- just two layers of depth -- for Thursday afternoon's practice, after guard/center Nick McDonald was placed on the active/PUP list on Wednesday. He joins guard Logan Mankins and tackle Sebastian Vollmer on that list, while undrafted rookies guard Jeremiah Warren (undisclosed) and tackle Markus Zusevics (pectoral) are on the active/NFI list. Guard Brian Waters is on the reserve/did not report list.
For Thursday's practice, Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon project as the top left and right tackles, respectively. Matt Kopa and Kyle Hix are the two reserve tackles on the roster. On the inside, Robert Gallery, Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, and Ryan Wendell will likely rotate among positions, with Donald Thomas and Jamey Richard as the only other options.
Roster stands at 88 players. The Patriots' roster stands two shy of the 90-man limit, leaving two spots open. On Tuesday, Mike Reiss speculated on how the Patriots might fill those two spots. The signings of Visanthe Shiancoe and Tim Bulman on Wednesday mean that tight end and defensive line can be checked off the list. However, offensive line now becomes the glaring area of need for more personnel, while running back can be considered high on that list as well.
As Field Yates pointed out earlier this month, there is a three-day waiting period before players signed after the start of training camp, who were not in another team's training camp, can begin practicing. That may be one reason the Patriots could move to fill their last two open roster spots sooner rather than later.
EXTRA POINT: The dueling 53-man projections on ESPNBoston.com have been updated to version 1.1 to reflect Wednesday's roster moves.