NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
Today we finish off the offensive side of the prospect primer with the big ugly’s in the trenches. The Patriots have added a lot of players to the offensive line mix via the draft the past few years. This does not mean that they will neglect the position this year, in fact, I think this could be an area they focus on once again, particularly at the Tackle position. The Patriots have used later picks in the draft to find quality players that have come in and contributed right away. Let’s take a closer look at all 3 Offensive Line positions and see who might be potential targets for the Patriots in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Barring injury, the Patriots are set at the Tackle position for this year. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer have been very good players for the team for many years. Solder will be a free agent next year if a long term deal cannot be worked out and Vollmer is getting older and has a history of back issues that could derail him at any time. Marcus Cannon was given a nice extension considering he has not done much in the league and when he has played it has been inconsistent to say the least. Second year player Cameron Flemming is a huge man that got more work as a 6th Offensive Lineman/blocking Tight End last year and I am not sure if he has the movement skills to play Tackle but time will tell.
Taylor Decker(#68), Ohio State 6’7″, 315 Lbs.
Tyler Johnston(#64), Oregon 6’6″, 265 Lbs.
Spencer Drango(#58), Baylor 6’6″, 310 Lbs.
Le’Raven Clark(#62), Texas Tech 6’6″, 308 Lbs.
Joe Dahl(#56) Washington State 6’5″, 310 Lbs.
Tyler Marz(#61) Wisconsin 6’5″, 321 Lbs.
Joe Haeg(#59) North Dakota State 6’6″, 310 Lbs.
Kyle Murphy(#78) Stanford 6’7″, 298 Lbs.
Jason Spriggs(#78) Indiana 6’7″, 300 Lbs.
Laremy Tunsil(#78) Ole Miss 6’5″, 305 Lbs.
Ronnie Stanley(#78) Notre Dame 6’5″, 315 Lbs.
Jack Conklin(#74) Michigan State 6’6″, 303 Lbs.
Germain Ifedi(#74) Texas A&M 6’5″, 320 Lbs.
Jerald Hawkins(#65) LSU 6’6″, 309 Lbs.
Chad Wheeler(#72) USC, 6’7″, 280 Lbs.
The Patriots may start the year with two rookies starting at Guard depending on the health of veteran Dan Connolly. They also traded for Ryan Groy a few weeks ago and he has some starting experience although limited. This is another position that they Patriots could look to add more youth to even if it is to back up the young guys or insurance if one or both do not pan out. Although the earlier returns seem positive for both Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason, they are rookies and their development is still an unknown. We will have a better feel for the need at Guard after this season but don’t be surprised if the Patriots dip into the pool again and draft another player at this position. #71)
Vadal Alexander(#78) LSU 6’6″, 320 Lbs.
John Theus(#71) Georgia, 6’6″, 313 Lbs.
Landon Turner(#78) North Carolina 6’4″, 315 Lbs.
Dexter Charles(#76) Washington 6’5″, 312 Lbs.
Sedrick Flowers(#66) Texas 6’3″, 320 Lbs
Jordan Rigsbee(#73) Cal. 6’4″, 300 Lbs.
Cody Whitehair(#55) Kansas State 6’4″, 309 Lbs.
Alex Redmond(#51) UCLA 6’5″, 297 Lbs.
Pat Elfein(#65) Ohio State 6’3″, 300 Lbs.
Denver Kirkland(#55) Arkansas 6’5″, 340 Lbs.
Christian Westerman(#55) Arizona State 6’4″, 305 Lbs.
This is the one position that I don’t see a big need at for the Patriots unless something serious happened to second year starter Bryan Stork. The Patriots also have undrafted free agent David Andrews on the current roster and some think that Shaq Mason may be better suited to play center, so the position seems pretty full at the moment.
Nick Martin(#72) Norte Dame 6’4″ 301 Lbs.
Kyle Friend(#79) Temple 6’2″ 305 Lbs.
Max Tuerk( #75) USC 6’6″, 285 Lbs
Mike Matthews(#56) Texas A&M 6’2″ 290 Lbs.
Jack Allen(#66) Michigan State 6’2″, 296 Lbs.
Evan Boehm(#77) Missouri 6’3″, 320 Lbs.
Isaac Seumalo(#56) Oregon State 6’5″, 297 Lbs.
There is a good amount of talent in the Offensive Line class. There is a surprising amount of good football players particularly at the Center and Offensive Tackle position. The problem is that the Patriots don’t really need a Center and the really good Offensive Tackles tend to go early and the Patriots do not have a pick until late in the 2nd round (I know I am making an assumption here, but I feel confident it will be late in the round.) The Patriots were able to get Vollmer in the second round and that pick was considered a reach but turned out great for the Patriots. If Tackle is a position they want to address, they will need to recreate that magic once again and find their guy who may be off the radar of the other 31 teams.
As always, please let me know of any players you feel should be on this list and I will add them to my list so I can make sure to give them a look. Please spread the word by following me on twitter @midwestpatsfan and tell your Patriots or draft buddies about these articles.