OT Elvis Fisher (Missouri)
Elvis Fisher joined the Missouri Tigers in 2007, redshirting before starting the following 40 games from 2008-2010 at left tackle, being named a First-Team Freshman All-American in 2008 and an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection in both 2009 and 2010. Fisher was regarded as a draftable prospect prior to his 2011 campaign, when he ruptured his patellar tendon in his left knee, forcing him to miss the entire season and apply for a medical hardship, which resulted in Fisher returning for a sixth year of eligibility in 2012, playing well despite missing some time due to a September knee injury; following the season, he was invited to the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game. He finished his career having been named a team captain in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but ultimately went undrafted, likely due to a combination of his age and injury history.
New England evidently saw something in Fisher, however, offering him a $7,500 signing bonus to join the team and guaranteeing another $7,500 of his 2013 base salary. Fisher is an intelligent, well-spoken prospect with an intriguing combination of size (6’5”, 296) and athleticism (5.13 in the 40-yard dash); he would be an attractive practice squad option if he does not make the final roster.
OG Josh Kline (Kent St.)
Kline redshirted as a freshman in 2008 before securing a reserve role with the Golden Flashes as a redshirt freshman in 2009; following that, he recorded eight starts as a redshirt sophomore before taking over a full-time starting role with the team in 2011, making seven starts at right tackle before transitioning to right guard for the final five games of the season. In 2012, he primarily played left guard, lining up next to left tackle Brian Winters, an eventual third-round selection of the New York Jets; Kline’s senior season was productive enough to earn him a Second-Team All-MAC selection as well as an invitation to the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game.
He was not invited to the NFL Combine, but impressed at Kent St.’s Pro Day, measuring in at just under 6’3” and 307 pounds, then running the 40-yard dash in 5.12 seconds, with relatively impressive times in the three-cone drill (7.66) and short shuttle (4.59). On tape, Kline’s thick build and aggressive demeanor stand out; those attributes, combined with his unexpected movement skills, could make him difficult for New England to cut.
OG Chris McDonald (Michigan St.)
The brother of current Patriots swing reserve Nick McDonald, Chris McDonald made 39 starts at right guard for the Spartans, being named an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection as a senior by both the conference’s coaches and the media. McDonald has intriguing physical tools; he measured in at 6’4” and 300 pounds at Michigan St.’s pro day before running the 40-yard dash in 5.00 seconds and recording 31 repetitions on the bench press, with above-average numbers in the three-cone drill (7.57) seconds and short shuttle (4.64 seconds.)
However, those numbers don’t always translate to on-field production, as McDonald appears to have some trouble anchoring against bull rushers and does not look particular fast or explosive in space on tape. McDonald’s bloodlines and his collegiate experience should help him compete for a spot on New England’s practice squad, but it appears unlikely that he will be able to secure a place on the final roster, as his physical skills are only adequate on tape and he was restricted to right guard throughout his college career, preventing him from demonstrating the versatility that the Patriots prize in their offensive line reserves.
C Matt Stankiewitch (Penn St.)
It was easy to connect Stankiewitch to the Patriots during the pre-draft process based on his experience playing under Penn St. head coach Bill O’Brien, who served as New England’s offensive coordinator in 2011 after spending the previous four seasons as an offensive assistant. Because the Nittany Lions implemented much of the same cadences and offensive line calls New England uses, Stankiewitch should have a gentler learning curve than the other incoming rookies on the offensive line, which may help him secure a spot on either the final roster or the practice squad. Another factor which may help Stankiewitch is his versatility; during his time at Penn St., he made fifteen starts at guard and twelve at center.
In order to earn a spot with the team in 2013, Stankiewitch will have to show that his lack of ideal size (6’3”, 302) and athleticism (5.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 7.90-second three-cone drill, 4.96-second short shuttle) will not prevent him from being able to contribute in the NFL. However, New England is relatively thin at center, meaning Stankiewitch may face less competition than a rookie guard or center; realistically, the Patriots have just three other players at the position: starter Ryan Wendell, starting right guard Dan Connolly (who previously started at center), and swing reserve Nick McDonald.