Building The 2018 Patriots Big Board: Offensive Line

 

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

For the final offensive group, it is time to take a look at the guys who do all the dirty work in the trenches. It’s funny, I went back and read this post for last year’s draft class and I could have copied that intro and it still would apply today. The Patriots need help at the most important position along the line, Left Tackle. Last year, I thought it would be prudent for the team to draft a Tackle just in case Solder did indeed leave in Free Agency. To their credit, the team did, but that succession plan has not worked out yet. Solder is now gone and the position is an unknown. The interior of the line is young and still has its growing pains, but the group is solid. Again, we could see the team look to add some youth as a long term back up plan.

Position(s): Offensive Line (Tackle, Guard, Center)

Priority: High(Tackle) Low(Guard, Center)

Tackles:

Marcus Cannon (age 29, signed through 2021)

LaAdrian Waddle (age 26, signed through 2018)

Antonio Garcia (age 24, signed through 2020)

Cole Croston (age 24, signed through 2019)

Andrew Jelks (age 24, signed through 2019)

Jason King (age 24, signed through 2018)

Guards:

Shaq Mason (age 24, signed through 2018)

Joe Thuney (age 25, signed through 2019)

Ted Karras (age 25, signed through 2019)

Matt Tobin (age 27, signed through 2018)

Centers:

David Andrews (age 25, signed through 2020)

Luke Bowanko (age 26, signed through 2018)

James Ferentz (age 28, signed through 2018)

 

Position Overview:

As you can see, there is not a lot of names on that Tackle list that instill confidence to be the next great Left Tackle. I had high hopes for Garcia, but his injury has set him back quite a ways and he can’t be counted on. Waddle filled in nicely last season, but will the team feel comfortable having him play every game protecting Brady’s blindside. There have been rumblings of the team liking the potential of Jelks and Croston, but neither have any real game experience and it would presumptuous to think either can come in and be a major contributor.

As for the Guard position, the group is young and Mason was probably the best player on the line last year, but he will be a free agent after this year and they may want to draft a contingency plan this year.

Andrews is solid at Center, but there is some really talented players in this draft at the position, so the Patriots could look to upgrade if the value becomes to good to pass up.

Tackles With A Draftable Grade:

 

Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

McGlinchey has the look of a Patriots Tackle. He has a good combination of height, length, and athleticism. He is a no nonsense player that does everything well. He shows good lower body stength to move defenders in the run game. McGlinchey uses his arm length to his advantage, creating space between him and the defender. He is known for his hard work and attitude and was a two year captain. His feet are a little heavy and he struggles with speed on the edge. He tends to get off balance on double moves and counters. His height can come into play and will bend at the waist, allowing defenders to get underneath him. McGlinchey has the size, but his footwork may ultimately put him on the right side, but will get and should get a shot on the left. Grade: 2nd Round

 

Connor Williams, Texas

Williams is a very good athlete that moves really well. He gets out of his stance quickly and moves well enough to pull. Williams bends at the knees rather than the waste and plays with good balance. He shows the ability to re anchor if he is initially beat with power at the snap. Williams has a nasty streak and continues to block through the whistle. He does not have the prototypical size the Patriots look for in the Tackles. He has short arms that allow defenders to create separation. His hand usage is unrefined and must improve. He will get called for a lot of holding penalties if he cannot improve his hand placement. He lacks the upper body strength to move defenders in the run game. There are some injury concerns. 2017 tape was not as good as 2016 and his length may ultimately land him inside. Grade: 2nd Round

 

Tyrell Crosby, Oregon

While Crosby does not have ideal height, everything else is very good from a physical standpoint. He has wide frame with vines for arms and huge hands.  He is powerful in the run game with the ability to latch on to defenders and move them where he wants them to go. He plays with a mean streak and looks to punish defenders. He keeps his head on a swivel and plays with great awareness. In pass sets, he gets out of his stance quickly and shows the ability to mirror defenders. NFL ready from a run standpoint, but his footwork is a little sloppy and slow when going against speed rushers in the pass game. Crosby will get impatient in pass protection, lunging and missing his opponent. His punch is late and he does not always use his length to his advantage, allowing defenders to get into his body. Grade: 2nd Round

 

Brian O’Neill, Pitt

O’Neill has prototypical size for the position. His height, length and athleticism are in line with exactly what the Patriots seem to look for in their Left Tackles. He is a smooth mover who is quick out of his stance and has excellent lateral movements to force rushers outside the pocket. He lacks core strength but makes up for it with balanced footwork and speed to get himself back into position. O’Neill gives max effort in the running game and is effective from a technical standpoint. The one thing O’Neill must improve is his strength. All his issues stem from this. Right now he is bullied in both pass and rush sets by power and he may not be able to contribute right away because of this. He has all the traits to be an elite Left Tackle, but may need time to develop. Grade: 2nd/3rd Round

 

Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State

While Rankin does not have the desired height and weight for the position, he does have long arms and large hands, giving him the length needed to play outside. Rankin uses his length well to create separation against pass rushers. He has strong hands and a good punch to force defenders outside and away from the QB. He shows good awareness to see trouble and help when necessary. He is a well rounded player with no elite qualities, but could be an effective player at all five positions along the line. Rankin needs to continue to get stronger to be a more effective in run blocking. He does not lose many reps, but doesn’t really win them either. Has enough athleticism to get to the 2nd level, but body control and balance go out the window and is not as consistent or effective. Grade: 3rd Round

 

Kolton Miller, UCLA

Miller will be a great test for me personally in the way I evaluate players. If you just look at his physical and athletic traits on paper, he should be a top 5 type pick. Rarely do you see a guy with his size, length, and freakish athletic ability. Then there is the tape. Obviously with that size and athleticism, he is going to be a smooth mover that can mirror speed rushers along the arc. He uses his length to keep space between him and his defender. Miller has adequate strength to handle power rushers and shows the ability to move defenders in the run game. Miller plays too high a majority of time and his hand usages is all over the place and ineffective. His footwork is sloppy, negating all his natural athleticism. He does not possess good lateral quickness to handle counter moves from pass rushers. While Miller may have eye popping traits on paper, he needs work on his technique from top to bottom and will not be ready to contribute in year 1 and maybe even beyond that. Grade: 3rd/4th Round

 

Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan

Okorafor is a well built athlete with all the attributes to be a Left Tackle. He has a wide frame with long arms and huge hands. He is really athletic for his size and moves well, with control and balance. He has a strong lower half and anchors well against power and the upper body strength to move defenders in the run game. He is young and still has room to grow and add strength. Hand usage is undisciplined and needs to be coached up. He is still young and late to see things develop.  The game can be too fast for him at times. He does not have the killer instinct I like in my Lineman. Overall, I really like his size and his athleticism, even if it underdeveloped. With some time in a system that does not force him to play immediately, he could develop into a stud. Grade: 3rd/4th Round

 

Brandon Parker, North Carolina A&T

Parker has a tremendous combination of size and athleticism. He is an easy mover that showed dominance in both the run game and pass game. He has quick feet to handle counter moves and uses his length to manhandle pass rushers out wide. Dominated at lower level where technique was not always necessary to win. Parker could “win” despite sloppy technique and he will need to stay focused on every snap. He was not dominant in his run blocking and he will need to continue to add strength in his lower half. He will play high at times, and while it never got him in trouble in college, NFL pass rushers will take advantage.  Parker is an intriguing prospect with rare traits. Grade: 4th Round

 

Joseph Noteboom, TCU

Noteboom is an interesting prospect that to be honest, I am not sure I quite have pegged yet. I really like his combination of size and athleticism. He moves well at the snap and has the speed/athleticism to get to the 2nd level. He plays with good strength and can move defenders to create holes for RB’s. He is a smart player with position versatility. He has the attitude I look for in Olineman and will fight through the whistle. My concerns with Noteboom have to do with balance. He has a tenancy to play high, allowing defenders to win the leverage battle and get him on skates. He panics with speed and tends to lunge at defenders, getting him top heavy and eyes down. He loses body control when blocking in space and needs to play with more control to be effective. Noteboom may need some time, but could realistically give a team reps at all five positions along the line. Hopefully with some good coaching and time in an NFL strength program he can find a permanent job. Grade: 5th Round

 

Jake Campos, Iowa State

Pro Day Results:

Height: 6’7″

Weight: 308 Lbs

40 Yard Dash: 5.31

Vertical: 25″

Broad Jump: 8’8″

3cone: 8.03 sec

Bench: 22 reps

Not going to lie, this ranking is the homer in me, but I watching Campos’s high school tape and thinking this was the first legit Olineman Iowa State had gotten since Osemele. He has decent length and moves well against speed. He is not a mauler, but mirrors well and kept his QB clean. He was a team captain. He lacks lower leg power because of multiple lower body injuries. He is not a guy who is going to pave the way for his running back, but has good quick hands to sustain his blocks. He will need a redshirt year to add mass to his frame, but he is technically sound and could develop over time into something. Grade: 7th Round

Interesting UDFA’s

Desmond Harrison, West Georgia

Brett Toth, Army

Jaryd Jones-Smith, Pittsburgh

Ike Boettger, Iowa

Bentley Spain, North Carolina

Jamar McGloster, Syracuse

 

Guards With A Draftable Grade:

Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

When you watch Wynn on tape, you almost get bored. He is so fundamentally sound that he rarely makes mistakes. He played Left Tackle at Georgia and handled SEC pass rushers with ease. I would not be surpised if the team that drafts him at least takes a look at him at Tackle, considering the lack of talent at the position in the league and in the draft. He does not have ideal size and won’t wow you from a physical or athletic standpoint. He has good footwork to move down the line and into the 2nd level with ease. He stays controlled and balanced, with the ability to reset when pushed back on initial contact. He mirrors well, keeping his shoulders square to his target. He may lack power in run blocking, but uses good technique to wall off defenders and create holes. If he stays at Tackle, speed can give him some trouble, but at Guard, that should not be an issue. While I would not typically look at the position early in the draft, Wynn may be too good to pass up where the Patriots are picking. Grade: 1st/2nd Round

 

Austin Corbett, Nevada

Corbett is another Tackle conversion prospect that has ideal size to move inside to Guard. He has heavy hands and uses them well. He shows good explosion out of his stance and has good movement skills. Corbett shows excellent awareness, keeping his head on a swivel to free lance when needed to help out. He is a two year team captain and plays with the grit and toughness I like. A move inside will mask his athletic deficiencies. Corbett struggled with speed and would lunge at defenders, but again, this will be less of a factor with a move inside. Grade: 3rd Round

 

Alex Cappa, Humboldt State

If  you have not seen any of Cappa’s tape, I highly recommend it. I found myself laughing at just how dominant he was. Cappa moves well enough to play Tackle, but his lack of size and length will require a move inside. He plays with an aggressive demeanor who looks to punish his opponent on every snap. He has the footwork to pull and block in space. Cappa was dominant in college, but lack of strength and length were exposed at the Senior Bowl. He played against lower level competition and was not required to play with great technique on a consistent basis. Grade: 4th/5th round

 

Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech

Teller has good size and length for the position. He is a smooth mover and light feet for the position. He is technically sound, getting to his spots quickly. He has a powerful upper body and easily moves defenders in the run game. He has a ton of starting experience. Teller gets over his pads too much and does not play as physical as his physique would indicate. There have been work ethic issues in the past. Grade: 5th Round

 

Interesting UDFA’s:

Jamil Demby, Maine

David Bright, Stanford

Cody O’Connell, Washington State

K.J. Malone, LSU

David Steinmetz, Purdue

 

Centers With A Draftable Grade:

 

James Daniels, Iowa

Daniels has a great combination of size, athleticism, and strength. He is technically sound that moves effortlessly on the balls of his feet. He is quick out of his stance and uses his hands really well. He is a smart player that rarely makes mental mistakes. He has the athleticism to pull. Daniels has long arms and uses them well to quickly engage defenders and seal them off to create running lanes. Daniels is really young and still has room to grow. His size allows him to play either Center and Guard and could even play some Tackle in a pinch. Daniels is strong, but can continue to develop in that area to become a devastating blocker if he wants. In reality, he just needs time to hone his already developed skills and strength. He has all pro potential and should be a solid starter Day 1. Grade: 1st Round

 

Billy Price, Ohio State

Price is very similar to Daniels in that he is a very controlled athlete that does everything well. He has a little more power that Daniels, but not as smooth of a mover in space. He plays with a mean streak. He was a two year captain and tone setter for his other teammates with his work ethic and demeanor. Like Daniels, he has position flexibility, with more experience at Guard than Center. He can be too aggressive at times, getting off balance. He was injured at the Senior Bowl and may not be ready to start the season. Grade: 2nd Round

 

Frank Ragnow, Arkansas

The trend continues with another Center/Guard prospect. Ragnow is not the polished athlete as the two above, but he has good size and long arms and he uses his size to his advantage. Ragnow plays with good technique and wins with power. He is a smart player that keeps his head on a swivel, looking for anyone to block. Comes from a program that’s former head coach is now on the Patriots coaching staff. He is a tough player and a team captain with the size and baseline athletic traits to play any of the interior positions. Ragnow needs to play with better balance and his taller frame leads to leverage issues. His game is not always pretty, but he gets the job done. Grade: 2nd/3rd round.

 

Interesting UDFA’s:

Brian Allen, Michigan State

Evan Brown, SMU

Will Clapp, LSU

 

Overall Impressions:

Obviously losing Nate Solder was a big hit to the continuity along the offensive line. While Solder certainly did not warrant being paid like he did, he was a solid Left Tackle. With Garcia not having a rookie year to develop, it leaves the team in a state of flux at the position. However, after watching this class, I certainly hope that the higher ups for the Patriots do not take a Tackle in the 1st round just to fill the perceived need. I am not in love with any of the names being thrown around as first round possibilities and would much rather wait until later in the draft. All these prospects need development, so grabbing a guy early doesn’t solve the problem for this year anyway. There is some talent at the interior offensive line positions and while the need is not as great for the Patriots, I could see them grabbing a guy because of the value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Responses to “Building The 2018 Patriots Big Board: Offensive Line”

  1. maineman209 says:

    Mike Gerken …

    Excellent job! You hit every one of the key scouting points for every prospect write-up.

    I agree with your assessment that none of this crop of Tackle prospects is likely to remedy that Pats LT situation for 2018.

    Mason seems very likely to get a big payday in 2019 free agency, so I also agree that one of the Guard prospects may present more value for grooming to be Mason’s replacement.

  2. Jeff Fid says:

    Mike unbelievable job.

    I love Wynn’s game at the l.o.s. He leaves little to be desired. Fires off the ball. Everything starts with his feet. Very balanced like you said. Huge fan.

    I love Daniels as well. You can tell a lot about a guy when he has a moment free & James was always a step ahead in terms of arriving at his assignment, being reliable, aware. He’s a stud. Very smart.

  3. lenny says:

    PFF projects Jamarco Jones as a borderline first rounder/second rounder.
    Gil Brandt rates him as a fourth rounder.
    Both analysts are quite good.
    There is something to be said for last year’s Patriot strategy of trading draft choices for proven veterans, assuming that veterans you want are available.

  4. CC says:

    O-Line huh?
    *Mclinchey in the 1st -and-
    *Okafor in the 2nd.
    The rest unless you can snatch Christian Kirk Texas A&M or Lamar Jackson…..all “D”.

  5. kevinz says:

    If things are true players against BB and style go for connection type players so use to that style. draft tough physical players as well. player may go 1 rd earlier so BB get his Guy than we think

    1st:Evan lb from Bama or jackson CB Iowa

    2nd:Dallas Goedert TE or who Pats think best TE

    2nd:Mike White QB or Lauletta for future hopeful QB

    2nd Tyquen Lewis DE tough player do your job type

    3rd:Issaac Yiadom CB goes to bc a great and tough DB coach there

    3rd:Darrell Williams RB coached by kevin faulk

    4th:Troy Fumigali TE Wis connection

    6th:Leon Jacobs Lb Coverage LB Wis Connection

    6th:Kameron Kelly Cb-s tough player leader type will play anywhere plus ST

    7th:James Butler RB losing train of thought goes to iowa right? lol

  6. brandon maxham says:

    would the Patriots go after Malik McDowell after he gets released by the Seahawks?

    He missed all of 2017 after suffering injuries in an ATV crash. He still is not medically cleared yet though.

    • CC says:

      Always possable? Although I serious hope not myself. It is an interesting case being the 35th overall pickin the 2017 and that it was a car accident injury that caused him too not play a down yet & hasn’t been cleared.
      Unfortunetly it really seems that especially as of late – there have been ( at least in many opinions ), far too many veterans that have been tagged…….and have been not just a total bust,but a simplistic waste of roster space where as other could have contributed somehow & been a factor, even if it was just a pawn position.
      No matter if a pick was given for said player or just the contract itself, I think a lot of teams have caught onto BB’s way of snagging vets and getting “something” out of them – that N.E. has been become sort of a dumping ground for these types of players…… Kony Ealy(DE) come too mind as well as Dwayne Allen(TE), just 2 quick ones, also even Martellius Bennet coming over from Green Bay last time……he failed to disclose an injury, yet he took up a roster spot in N.E……… i don’t think it is a wise move unless he gets playing time 1st at another spot and he is watched.

  7. kevinz says:

    1st:Lorenzo Carter OLB Rusher

    2nd:Dallas Goedert TE

    2nd:Mike White QB

    2nd Tyquen Lewis DE

    3rd:Issaac Yiadom CB

    3rd:Darrell Williams RB

    4th:Brandon Parker ot

    6th:Leon Jacobs Lb Coverage LB

    6th:Kameron Kelly Cb-s

    7th:James Butler RB

  8. brandon maxham says:

    mock draft 4/17: 1 of 2

    1st:Sam Hubbard DE

    1st:DJ Moore WR

    2nd:Christian Kirk WR

    2nd:Duke Ejiofor DE

    3rd:Dane Cruikshank CB-S

    6th:Will Richardson OT

    6th:Alex McGough QB

    7th:Justin Jackson RB

  9. brandon maxham says:

    mock draft 4/16:

    1st:Jaire Alexander CB

    1st: traded for 2nd,3rd and 4th.

    2nd:Christian Kirk WR

    2nd:Duke Ejiofor DE

    2nd:Kyle Lauletta QB

    3rd:Royce Freeman RB

    3rd:Tyrell Crosby OT

    4th:Dalton Schultz TE

    6th:Airus Moore ILB-OLB

    6th:Peter Kalambayi OLB-ILB

    7th:Tray Matthews S

  10. TommyG says:

    23- Rashaan Evans
    Trade 31 to Houston for Whitney Merilcus DE/OLB
    43- Trade down 4 spots for 4th rounder
    47- Christian Kirk WR
    Trade 63 for 3rd and 4th rounder
    3rd- Mike White QB
    3rd- PJ Hall DT
    4th- Scott Quessenberry G
    4th- Kalen Ballage or Jalen Samuels RB

  11. macspak says:

    Well BB couldn’t have been clearer that he does not draft based on need and doesn’t even know what that means. Strictly drafts the best player available regardless of position. So, we have absolutely no fear he will reach for an OT. Right?

    • Mike Gerken says:

      We can only hope. If I hear the name Kolton Miller to the Patriots in the 1st round one more time I am going to lose it.

      • macspak says:

        yes, 1,000 times is enough. 1001 the tipping point and we’ll probably get there. Next to Christmas as a kid the NFL draft is what I look forward to the most. Probably goes for others too on this site. Is there something wrong with us? I know there is with me.

  12. lenny says:

    NFL Network predicts a blockbuster trade between NE and DEN.

    Broncos receive 23rd pick, 31st pick, and RB James White.

    NE receives 5th overall pick.

    • steve earle says:

      Well that would destroy every mock I’ve seen this year. I’d be shocked to tell the truth, seem so unlike BB like to want to move that far up. If true he must have a specific player in mind I would think.

    • macspak says:

      rank speculation where the media is creating the “news?” Or from reliable sources? Which sources? Pats not known for personnel, or other, leaks.

    • Lawrence says:

      I just don’t see that happening. There is a talent slide happening now. A major restocking of young talent is critical to this draft. The top 5 picks should turn into 7 picks via trade with the goal of getting four starters out of this draft. Think back to 2003 / 2004 team – loaded with premier talent on both offense and defense. The 2018 team does not have.

  13. Brian says:

    I agree with the majority here in that I’d much prefer Parker or Noteboom in the 4th than any of the higher ranked tackles in the 1st or 2nd.
    Also would like to see Price or Ragnow drafted to add depth to the interior/ insurance for Shaq Mason. Or even just to upgrade on Andrews.

    • lenny says:

      I would have much preferred resigning Cam Fleming, whom the Cowboys got relatively inexpensively. Fleming has already proven that he can play in the NFL and is only 25 years old. In an offseason that has generally been excellent for the Patriots, the Fleming departure is the decision that could haunt them.

      Crosby would be a tremendous mauling guard, but at tackle (especially left tackle) he will be a liability in pass protection.

    • steve earle says:

      I like Parker but not Noteboom, to many bad instincts seems to me. I’d still take Mike McGlinchey as the best LT prospect in the draft with our #23. Ragnow would be a bonus imo but there are so many def needs I can’t see bill taking him but never say never with BB.

  14. steve earle says:

    Well I’d take McGlinchey in the 2nd any day but can you really believe he won’t be a 1st rd pick?
    Didn’t you forget Will Hernandez OG?

    • Mike Gerken says:

      He will probably go in the first. You have to remember, just because he has a 2nd round grade doesn’t mean I don’t think he will or shouldn’t go in the first. I do not have 32 1st round grade. I think I ended up at 17 or 19. That means guys with 2nd round grades are going to go in the 1st.

      • steve earle says:

        Right, I understand but ratings bring into question at least in my mind. What about Will Hernandez?

        • Mike Gerken says:

          Hernandez graded out at a 1st/2nd for me, but I didn’t put him on this list because I don’t want the Patriots to take a pure Guard that high in the draft. Wynn made the cut because of his versatility. Hernandez is very good, but I feel I can find 85-90% of him later in the draft. Again, comes down to value.

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