Open Thread: Offensive Line

Stefen Wisniewski - 2011 NFL Draft

The Patriots may need a few new blockers this off-season.

Yesterday, we gave you our Top 5 OL for the entire NFL Draft. However, the Patriots needs are very different than other NFL teams. They just don’t take those waist-bending 350-pound player, mostly preferring to select somewhat leaner blockers.

With Matt Light and Logan Mankins both uncertain to return, expect the offensive line to get a lot of attention this off-season.

Here are our top five linemen that we’d like to see the Patriots pick this April in the 2011 NFL Draft. Jump in with your top five and reasons why below in the comment section. (If you’d like a picture to go with your name, sign up at

Stefen Wisniewski, OC/OG, Penn State

Wisniewski is an ultra-competitive blocker that can play all three interior positions. He will need to refine his shotgun technique, but a year playing guard while Dan Koppen plays out his contract would be the time he needs to work with Coach Scarnecchia.

Ben Ijalana, OL, Villanova

Ijalana provides a lot of versatility to an offensive line, with his great feet and athleticism being an asset at both guard and tackle. He is pretty raw, but might be a star someday soon. Unfortunately, he is a bit nicked up and won’t play in the Senior Bowl.

Clint Boling, OG, Georgia

Boling is just a nasty run blocker that will kick inside in the NFL after playing both tackle and guard in college. He moves and pulls well, which makes him a good scheme fit for the Patriots. Would love to pick him up in the 3rd round.

Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
Costanzo is a solid all-around blocker that isn’t flashy in any one facet of his game. Should be a late 1st or early 2nd round pick, which is right where the Patriots have a lot of ammunition.

Derek Sherrod, LT, Mississippi
One of the most balanced tackles in the draft, Sherrod has great length (35+ inch arms) and good feet. He would fit in well at LT if the Patriots want to keep Vollmer on the right side.

Bonus: Demarcus Love, RT, Arkansas

We’ve bashed Love many a time this year, but we do like his potential. He makes a lot of correctable errors that the Patriots coaching staff will take care of. He is very physically gifted and could excel at RT if Sebastian Vollmer kicks over to the left side. Would be a lovely pick in the late 3rd round.

Just Missed:

Nate Solder, LT, Colorado
Great pass-blocker, but not sure he can be the run-blocker that the Patriots need.

John Moffitt, OL, Wisconsin
If he can continue to play center well as he is showing at the Senior Bowl, he will be moving up our list.

Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The Patriots can’t afford to wait a year to protect Tom Brady.

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Right tackle only for the Patriots – not great agility or footwork, but he is a nasty run-blocker. Might struggle against speed-rushers.

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45 Responses to “Open Thread: Offensive Line”

  1. SteveSteve says:


  2. SteveSteve says:

    Only 3 Teams in the league gave up fewer sacks and we were without Mankins for 7 games, Kaczur for the season, Neal for a few… etc etc. why does everyone see doom and gloom. There are a lot of reasons why we lost to the Jets… Like the safeties cheating forward due to no deep threat.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The O-Line ain’t broke. It won the Madden award. Add some mid late round depth for our ace OL coach to mold, and call it a day.

    Draft a pass rush.
    Get a rushing attack in FA.
    Get a field stretcher that wont whine if you don’t throw it to him 10 times a game.

    Do this and Brady ties Montana!

    • Bob says:

      Steve, in alot of aspects i agree w/you, but our last 3 playoff games and teams we lost to in the reg. season were because Tom was on his back, the reg season games don’t bother me , everyone is entitled to a bad day, but now we cannot make it past the 1st playoff game, so i say true up the line , then go RB and then receiver , there are tons of DE and OLB in this draft we can get late, actually i would love to see us get aggressive with free agency also especially for a WR thats proven.. Look all our playoff game scores and sacks , our last SB is when it all started..

  3. Bruschi54 says:

    I have read a lot about signing Leon Washington or DeAngelo Williams as FA, but I think they can get Jaquizz Rodgers from Oregon State at the end of 3rd or possibly 4th if they want another versatile smaller back to go with Woodhead. Rodgers has the Maurice Jones Drew type strength on that shorter frame, is excellent pass catcher, and outstanding(claiming sub 4.0 40) speed. He has been the feature back all 3 college seasons going over 1,000 yds with double digit TD’s each season. A lot cheaper option and probably more productive. If they want to get a bigger back Benson would be good option as the 3rd back in their rotation if he comes at reasonable price. He is probably looking for last big payday and a chance to be featured back, neither of which we are looking for.

    • Bruschi54 says:

      Sorry about Rodgers 40 time, Mayock from NFL Network stating he will run 40 in sub 4.4, thinks he will be fastest RB @ combine.

  4. TD says:

    Definition of insanity: expecting BB to change the way he operates in the draft because of 1 loss. Do we really hold out hope that he will; (1) trade up for a stud DL like Dareus or Fairley, (2) draft a WR to “take the top off the defense”, (3) draft rush LB’s that only rush, (4) use all his draft picks this year and not trade one into better position for next year, (5) take a flier on a “project”.

    Also, expecting him to; (1) over pay for an OL like Mankins, (2) using high draft picks to pick up say, Fitzgerald, (3) use all his cap space to sign an Asamough, (4) do what all other teams do, such as naming OC and DC.

  5. CC says:

    The point most are not getting is that it’s not just one or two pieces of the 0-line that are the issue……it’s 3/4’s of it!!
    Take your pick; Either old, injured, around the 1/2 way point by comparison at best in regard’s to actual talent and or in contract dispute! never mind all the shifting around that is and has been constantly done.

    **Sign “BOTH” Wisniewski and Pouncy…..Period!
    Sign a stand up De in free agency General order of chioce = …….
    Jason BabinDE,
    Cullen Jenkin’sDE,
    Ray EdwardsDE,
    Charles JohnsonDE,
    Marcus SpearsDe,
    Mathias Kiwanuka.
    **Sign a Running Back in Free Agency like De’Angelo William’s. Think even a Cedric Benson as he had special teams placment as well-which BB likes.
    Also Leon Washington out of Seatle…..A third back to back up the tandom of the Lawfirm and Woody that is also a special teams guy which again BB likes.
    Darren Sproles-a RB with what………? a special team’s guy also….did i mention that that is what BB likes?
    Then going back 2 more just the straight RB type like DeAngelo Williams, you have Amad Bradshaw from the Giant’s maybe.
    ALL RB’s in free agency, all are good, and all but two on that list I just gave are special teams players. The two that are not, are simply more hard core straight running back’s that can do what both the Law firm and woody cannot in general do…………………Take it to the house!
    (ala’ Corry Dillon and or Antwon Smith did………..Hint, Hint.)

    Signing both Wisniewski and Pouncy-Period!!

    It guarantees fresh new Center and Guard to work with our veteran’s with clear talent for both the future & specifically for Brady through out the rest of his stay here…….
    Noting that both have experiance and the other can fill in for the other when/if needed and visa/versa.

    Thus a new fresh Guard…..
    & A new fresh Center…… both whom can again do the other’s job when / if ever needed.

    Signing a free agent DE as well as a free agent RB will shore up the list, and give the oportunity of the rest of the draft to concentrate on that OLB and OT specifically we need.

    You end up with a new OG, a new C, that are stable and also interchangable……
    You end up with a free agent RB that makes us actually have a “REAL RUN GAME”, and a free agent DE too pressure and kill that oposing QB.
    Both free agent possitions of which are proven and not needed necesserally to be trained or are questionable of their talent and can-do skill’s. I.E. NO PROJECTS.
    *******Thats four positions right there and two do not use draft pick’s!!

    and the once again you have the rest of the draft pick’s for finding O tackles and that elusive OLB we need.

    Now maybe you use a lower pick coupled with another to get both these guys, but if not available then you use a lower pick coupled with a higher pick to get the other guaranteed possition. Either way, we need to fill two possitions through free agency. & we need to use one pick to help us move up to guarantee that the first two pick we actually make are for specific starting talent without question.

    That’s why not waiting on the Mankins deal and getting a key possition Player for him now is the key.
    Neal is gone, Mankins is gone, and the rest are lower teir talent, injury prone, have uncertainty too them and/or just not that good…

  6. TD says:

    I think with all the focus on DL and edge rushers, there are going to be plenty of quality OL’s at end of 1st and 2nd rounds.

    That 33rd pick is going to be a hot commodity come the start of the 2nd day and there is a top OL, DE or edge rusher someone has fallen in love with.

  7. JimC says:

    Get off you thumbs and sign Mankins, it’s only money. Why waste a draft pick and a year of aggrevation. Stop looking for trouble in the draft sign your current probowler – he is the best left guard in the league.

    • cash says:

      Totally agree.

      • Ryan says:

        Mark it. It is to hard to let your best players go year after year and try to find a “suitable” aka CHEAP. Sign some decent players, and winning the Super Bowl would not be so darn hard.

    • Jeff says:

      They were saying on eei today that the Pats had the second or third lowest payroll….so i think they can afford to sign Mankins.

  8. TD says:

    I think we need to get more power running going on a consistent basis, not run only when the D formation presents run. Look at Pitt, Mendenhall did major damage against Jets by running up the middle. Pitt’s OL is not better than ours, is it? They seem to have more of a commitment to the run all year so that in playoffs they are tuned up and ready to go.

    When we run up against a good D, the strategy seems to be spread them out and throw, which works until we run up against a good “cover” D like GB or Jets.

  9. carlos says:

    what do you guys think about darius morris, from temple? i saw some tape of him and was impressed. maybe a value pick who can develop into a starter when light is gone (considering he comes back for 2011).

    • Bruschi54 says:

      I like Morris, he is one of 3 really good prospects from that Temple program. Everyone knows about Wilkerson by now but the safety Jarrett is very solid player flying under the mock draft radar right now. Morris is big and athletic, I think they have him at 6’4″ 315, and seems light on his feet. He would make for solid selection in RD4 if still available.

  10. mike says:

    Look dante is picking , leave it to him and we’ll be fine.

    Don’t panick after one game. Connolly was fresh off injury and frankly that loss is a fluke. The points patriots put up is enough to win games. Look at the stats on pats run defense. It is a huge concern. Thats why aldon smith is not likely going to be a patriot. Bill favors players with run stopping abilities. See what steelers did to the jets? See how many miss tackles we made?

    Defense is first priority this year. This year is also a defensive draft by the way.

    O line will wait unless dante tell belichick otherwise, then it might be reconsidered. I’m all for second rounder on o line, but first rounder is a stretch.

    • Jeff says:

      Not sure I agree the loss was a fluke from a certain standpoint. One thing that is in common with the last 3 post season losses was the poor play of the offensive line…well maybe 2 things were in common the offense play like dog crap in all 3….

      If the Pats can add some talent at olb and another talented DT I think we could have a very very good D next year.

      • carlos says:

        the 2007 O-line looked crappy in the final game because of the absence of a running game, and that allowed the giants to play 4 DEs at once. the 2009 team just sucked overall. and most of the 5 sacks in the recent jets game were coverage sacks, and the rest was brady not picking up the unblocked blitzer and not making the quick read.

  11. Sciz says:

    I want three new starters on the OL next year, whether that’s in free agency or through the draft. Light needs to go, Vollmer needs to replace him at left tackle, Koppen needed to be gone last offseason. Connolly needs competition. He had some great moments this season, but struggled a lot against the Jets. Mankins needs to be the #1 priority this offseason.

    • cash says:

      You have no clue what your talking about. Thanks god you dont make decisions. Light had a good year as did Koppen. Are they getting old? Yes. But they still performed very well this year. This is what you dont understand about the NFL, its hard to find talent out there and when you have 2 really good players at a position you dont just get rid of them. Have you seen our defense the last couple years? Thats the proof right there about how hard it is to find talent. And why get rid of a guy who knows your system? Its harded to find a new guy, train him to learn the system, pay him while hes not doing much and then wait on your investment.

      Its not like theres 40 very good players at each position who are free agents. Talent is scarce, im happy we have a solid LT and C

  12. Sean says:

    #1 Nate Solder OT Colorado – Solid Pass blocker and decent run blocker could play LT or RT. Only been an OT for 3 yrs switched from TE similar to Vollmer. Has gotten better every year. High upside.

    #2 Gabe Carimi OT/G Wisconsin – Would be RT for Pats which is fine. I don’t get this notion of not drafting RT’s in the 1st it happens all the time.

    #3 Clint Bowling OT/G Georgia – Would be a good Guard Prospect.

    #4 John Moffitt OG/C Wisconsin – Would be a Guard now and could be Center later.

    #5 Ryan Pugh C Auburn – Late round pick that could get a year to grow into the system.

    Just missed
    Anthony Costanzo OT Boston College – Unless he falls to the later part of the 2nd round isn’t strong at POA and is a little undersized.

  13. CC says:

    Filling in the O-line is needed, But finding out what’s up with and a spot for Mankins and receiving a key possition player for him is the key.
    He’s not with injury, he’s primed…… swapping him out for a key top player, NOW + a little something is where it’s at.

    I’d go for sending him to a place where we can pick up a key possition player right now as we are giving one, and whatever comes with it, be it another player or a pick this year or next…whatever, but getting a key possition player for him now “”should be set in stone”” & preferably not obviously in our division or a team who has a QB threat to us!
    Personally, I’d like a decent Pick (preferably NOW/This Year), AND a Great CB for him + whatever else that is thrown in, which could be anything; take your pick…..pick’s, cash, whatever.
    This solidifies the back field and Put’s us with two CB’s that can actually play, because McCourty is the only real CB we have.
    I think giving him to Carolina for De’Angelo William’s would be Just fine, It isn’t like he’d be guarding a potentioal threat to US…. so DeAngelo william’s would do us right in the running back department.

    The Viking’s have a few good player’s that are free agent’s as well, and they will want to protect whom ever is taking Brett F’s place be it Jackson or whomever, Mankins would fit that bill nicely for the viking’s and we would receive a decent key possiton player from them + a little something!
    Barrett Rudd/The Tampa Bucs.
    Tennessee’s Jason Babin,
    Chad Greenway / Viking’s,
    Tamba Hali of the K.C. Cheif’s,
    Nnamdi ASomugha, Oakland

    Either way I’d make sure we got something for him NOW, and not just wait for later/next year.
    *We also owe K.C. a conditional pick for Jarred Page, so maybe we could receive a decent player for Logan Makins + the extra’s that will take care of giving the pick for page away?

  14. TD says:

    I don’t think we need a “versatile” center, we need a “whup ass” center that can get the job done in the playoffs.

    • Jeff says:

      Well said TD. I think this Oline needs a shake up and a tweak in offensive scheme…..a little more power football has always worked since the dawn of time. You want to preserve Tom’s career draft Ingram and a couple road graders.

      • Ryan says:

        I diagree with Ingram but the road graders seem SWEET to me. Seems like as of late the last few heisman winners have been all talk and no show (minus Same Bradford). I’d like Bill to be unbiast in his decision of an RB. Which it might be Leshoure or whomever. Ingram did win the heisman, but he has also had an injury.

      • Jeff says:

        Ryan, is it just because you think Ingram just isnt 1st rd talent? or is the mythe of heisman winners failing in the nfl? or is the injury ? Lets take the injury first….Adrian Peterson was banged up throughout his college carreer…Willis Mgehee has the worst knee injury i ever seen…I gues what im saying RB’s get banged up. RB’s that won the heisman – Eddie George, Ricky William, Barry Sanders, Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, Earl Campbel, Marcus Allen…the list of succesful RB by far outways the few that were busts in the nfl….

      • Ryan says:

        Oh I definitely agre that there have been some outstanding Heisman winners. But there have also been amazing running backs espicaly as of late that have not been heisman winners. I don’t like the fact he has been banged up. Not only that the only reason most will consider him first round talent is for the fact he is under Saban and in a Pro style offense. As for the all speed, agility, strength etc I guess I will have to wait and seee after the combine. But once again this just my opinion. I also hate to waste an early pick on him. Bill will probably see it differently, but thats what this whole blog is about.

      • Bob says:

        I agree Jeff, but i think Mike Leshore is the RB sleeper coming out, BB is high on him too. We’ll see, we gotta get afew road grader’s though.

      • Bob says:

        Also Demarco Murray would be a great addition to our offense, look at Demarco Murray’s highlights on you tube and tell me what you think?His motor is high revving and his knees are always pumping!!

    • Bruschi54 says:

      I agree with getting a “whup ass” center, Pouncey is clearly the guy in this draft. I think at the combine cattle call Wisniewski is going to measure out closer to 6 Ft than the listed 6’3″, he is very similar to Shipley who he replaced at PSU 2 yrs ago. I think Koppen has a little tread left on the tires, but is closed to needing a rotation.

  15. Ryan says:

    Any thoughts on Pouncey? His brother ended up doing very well for the Steelers? I haven’t seen any tape on him, but McShay and Kiper (for what its worth) seem to like him.

    • NEPD says:

      Pouncey will be a decent pro, but I like Wisniewski’s versatility at the center position more.

    • Bruschi54 says:

      Pouncey is a very solid player, bigger and more athletic than Wisniewski. He is very versatile with the ability to become starter early on at guard or center. I only saw Wisniewski play twice this season and tried to focus on him because of all the things I had heard. I was not impressed either time and would be surprised if the Pats spent any of their first 3 selections on him. Coach Dante can work his magic with several of the players that are going to be available in 3rd & 4th rounds. Jah Reid from UCF would make a nice bookend with Vollmer for the next decade.

  16. Ryan says:

    This draft will be made or lost, on the the ability of the best O-line coach in the NFL (in my opinion). Personally, I think he can save us some coin and find some good OL help in the second and third such as Vollemer. To me it kind of sucks wasting OL picks in the first round when he has done such a good job of uncovering some of the best OL players in later rounds. But we’ll have to see, we have quite a few OL playing in waiting who have yet to see the field. Hopefully, we can put somthing together.

  17. Ken says:

    If Costanzo isn’t projecting as a LT don’t use pick 17 on him. We don’t need a RT in the first round.

  18. TD says:

    Isn’t it great that we’re predicting Pat’s draft picks and 2011 lineups in Jan 2010! It’s what cements the word fan, shortened from fanatic. I too join in and would be even if we were going to Dallas this year.

    Just look at the Jets; their GM/owner did everything short of killing the Pitt coaching staff trying to win the super bowl, however, I don’t see it going well the next few years unless they can “rent” some more fallen/older stars like LT, Holmes, Taylor, etc.

    The Pat’s on the other hand have a lot to look forward to such as who do we take in the draft to make this team better-that is get to the super bowl and win.

    It is unanimous that we need to improve the lines on both sides of the ball plus get some damn pass rush. The one thing that allowed Ty Law & Samuel to make plays was a consistent pass rush, that’s why it’s amazing McCourty made the plays he did.

    I think we can forget about BB moving up to get one of the “top” guys as he views picks very valuable. I think we will end up with a good DL and OL plus another cover guy and possibly someone to help rush the QB.

  19. Bill says:

    I suspect Costanzo will not be available after the Colts pick in the first round. So the Pat’s will have to be willing to draft him at #17, if they want the best OT in the 2011 draft.

    Here’s my forecast for the Pat’s OL next year:

    Vollmer(LT)…Wisniewski(LG)…Koppen(C)…Connolly(RG)…Costanzo(RT)…With Boling, or Moffitt as development players.

    • Steve says:

      Bill, sounds good…
      I have never seen a year where the OT’s are so all over the place in their rankings. I suspect it will all come together more after the senior bowl and the combine though. The weaknesses will be exposed…lack of speed, athleticism, strength etc…The cream will rise to the top.
      I’m really curious about this week’s Senior Bowl practices…the one-on-one drills are big…instantly shows who can move and who can play the position.

    • Steve says:

      There’s a small problem with this, although I like it…I like the players. The team would have to use 3 of the 4 top picks, most likely, to make this happen. We need some help on defense too.
      I like Moffitt, but think he’ll be gone in the 2nd, and Wisneiswski by the end of the 1st, most likely top of the 2nd, and Costanzo in the first (now looking like top 20, with the Pats being lucky if he’s there at 17).
      There are too many factors unknown to have good idea of where they’re going:

      -Can light switch to RT? Will he switch to RT for less money?
      -Will they sign Mankins, if they do that’s a big problem solved.

      -CPA: will they have an idea on free agency by the draft and who is out there that they like? veterans?

      Any one of these questions, especially the first 2, changes everything. I say if they bring in one tackle, or one guard/center very early…with 1 of the first 33 picks, they are doing fine.

  20. Steve says:

    This O-line has been built to stop the likes of the Steelers…the blitzing…pass protection etc…It’s not a road-grading O-line. They bend but don’t break (unless it’s against the Jets 2 weeks ago).

    It makes all the sense in the world for the Pats to be drafting someone they like. All the same names keep getting tossed around: Costanzo, Pouncey, Wisniewski etc…

    It’s all contingent on where they feel Light is, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back playing left tackle…he had a good season. Also, on what happens with Mankins.

    I know that if Pouncey is 75% of the player his brother is he probably won’t get out of the first, even if he has to play some guard.

    I’ve said this too many times, but whatever they do on the O-line is just fine with me…Dante puts together a great squad every year, and the players he picks I trust are the players he wants to work with.

    We will see…

    I think the catch will be how much the Pats see in drop offs between guys. Meaning, if they feel they can get a comprable guard/center in the 3rd, or late 2nd (maybe a slight drop off in talent), then they may want to use that first pick on a better defensive player, and end up with both positions filled. Drafting a center in the first round is close to drafting a running back…just not the best plan, especially with holes on your defense.

    You want first round players to be game changers…special…you want to reach just a bit here.

    • Jeff says:

      Are you talking about the same oline that gave up 5 sacks vs the Jets in playoffs….and the same oline that was steam rolled in the SB….and I dont want to get into the Balt game a year ago..

      Just sayin.

      • Steve says:

        If you actually read what I wrote you’ll see I make a joke that they lost in the playoffs, again, because of the O-line, partly. I go on to say they should be filling some holes, but I’m just not sure what names will be there when they pick. Meaning, now that we’re starting to see who can actually play and who can’t via Senior Bowl practices there will be big shifts. One certainty, Solder won’t make it to #17 the way he looks, and Costanzo may not either.
        All I’m saying is I do trust in Dante, BB & staff to make something happen, to bring this unit together.
        I’m watching to see who has talent and value just like the rest…admitting that they do need to do something to upgrade.

        You have to look at this fact also, and I’m sure the Patriots know this now after the playoff loses you mentioned especially, they realize that the only way to beat this team is to get Tom Brady rattled. This isn’t a big secret, we just saw what happened to Rogers after he got drilled: A multi-game zone came to an end…he was knocked back into reality and started thinking a bit more. Sometimes, often, that’s all it takes. So, during playoff games this is what the Pats know they have to deal with.

        I’m pretty sure they’ll address it, I’m just not sure with what players, draft slots, free agents, current players. I do trust Dante that much to know what he wants.

      • Bob says:

        Exactly , if you look at our playoff losses, we haven’t put points on the board like we did in previous years, and your right this is due to Tom laying on his back and non-consistent running attack.I would like to see the o-line sured up then get either Mike Leshore or Demarco Murray to get a consistent runner that is always a threat to hit a homerun, there are alot of DE OLB good ones in this draft that we can get in the late 2nd rd, lets get our offense trued up for the elite teams.

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