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 Gravatar.com)
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.
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.