Ranking most likely Patriots to fill 53rd spot

SAN DIEGO -- In placing wide receiver Aaron Dobson on season-ending injured reserve Thursday, the New England Patriots created an opening on their 53-man roster. It almost certainly will be filled by a member of the practice squad on Saturday, so let's lead off the day handicapping the most likely candidates:

1. WR Josh Boyce (5-foot-11, 205 pounds) -- The 2013 fourth-round draft choice played in nine games last season (3 starts) and with Brandon LaFell (shoulder) and Julian Edelman (thigh) managing injuries, the smartest move might be to add a fifth layer to the depth chart who has some flexibility to align inside and outside.

2. LB Deontae Skinner (6-2, 250) -- With linebacker Dont'a Hightower's shoulder injury potentially affecting his status/availability, bolstering the linebacker depth chart has merit, especially when factoring in special teams. The Patriots are also going to be without linebacker/core special teamer Chris White on Sunday.

3. WR Jonathan Krause (5-11, 190) -- An undrafted rookie out of Vanderbilt, he spent the offseason/preseason with the Browns before joining the practice squad Oct. 24. He's a bit of an unknown at this point but falls into the "sleeper" category if receiver is the position the Patriots target.

4. DE Jake Bequette (6-5, 265) -- Rob Ninkovich is playing a lot of snaps and Bequette could also factor into special teams considerations.

5-6. OLs Chris Barker (6-2, 310)/ Caylin Hauptmann (6-3, 300) -- With starting left guard Dan Connolly (ankle) and rookie offensive tackle Cameron Fleming (ankle) not 100 percent, the Patriots still have seven blockers and wouldn't seem to need to make a move here unless they were protecting an asset from being poached by another team.

7-8. DTs Joe Vellano (6-2, 300)/Casey Walker (6-1, 325) -- The Patriots have good depth with their big men in the middle with Vince Wilfork, Chris Jones, Alan Branch and Dominique Easley, so a move at this position seems unlikely right now.

9-10. CBs Justin Green (5-11, 195)/CB Daxton Swanson (5-11, 191) -- Having just signed on Wednesday, it's hard to imagine either would be the pick for a promotion at this point, especially with rookie Malcolm Butler having been inactive the last two games.

EXTRA POINT: Another possibility would be to simply add defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, who still has time as part of his 21-day window to come off the short-term IR list. But with depth at defensive tackle currently looking solid, that possibility wouldn't rank as highly.