Accountability check: Patriots' locks

Before the New England Patriots convened for 2014 training camp, the "checking the locks" series went through each position on the roster to classify players in the "sure-fire lock," "near-lock" and "trying to get in the door" categories.

Let's do an accountability check, revisit the "checking the locks" series, and see some of what we got right and wrong:


Josh Boyce -- The second-year receiver was listed as a "sure-fire lock" with the thinking that if 2013 third-round pick Jake Bequette earned a two-year redshirt type of situation, Boyce would at least get a second year. Boyce's release, while not unexpected by the end of camp, was the signature move of the day.

Jon Halapio -- The high sixth-round draft choice from Florida (179th overall) was viewed as a "sure-fire lock" with the idea that he'd get a year to groom behind the scenes. What we didn't see coming was Jordan Devey's emergence.

Will Smith -- Calling the veteran defensive end a "near lock" was too aggressive. Penalize that one 5 yards for a neutral zone infraction.

Jemea Thomas -- Figured the sixth-round pick from Georgia Tech would be a "sure-fire lock" based on his versatility and special-teams experience, but an injury on the first day of training camp -- and the unexpected rise of undrafted Malcolm Butler -- was a bad combination and he didn't make it through first cuts.


Brandon Bolden -- Had the third-year running back as a "near lock" from the start, even as speculation swirled that he might be on the bubble, because of his four-down value to the team.

James Develin -- It was easy to see that the fullback was a valuable cog for the Patriots by the end of the preseason, but the picture was far from that clear before the first practice of camp. We'll invest in players like Develin any day of the week and that's why he was a "near lock" from the get-go.

Chris Jones -- Second-year defensive tackle was viewed as a "sure-fire lock" because of his upside, and even after injuring his left ankle in the preseason opener, the Patriots kept a spot reserved for him.

Zach Moore -- From Day 1, we've been high on the sixth-round pick from Concordia (198th overall) because of his unique physical traits. The Roy Hibbert look-a-like has come through for us when it comes to his "sure-fire lock" status.

EXTRA POINT: In our final 53-man roster projection from Friday morning, this is what we missed: Offensive lineman Chris Barker and safety Duron Harmon on the roster in place of linebacker Steve Beauharnais and long snapper Danny Aiken.