By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
April 25, 2005

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Everybody knows that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick loves hard working guys who simply love to play football.

Needless to say it's no surprise he decided to take Fresno State offensive lineman Logan Mankins with the 32nd pick in the draft over the weekend.

Mankins basically appears to give them a younger more intense version of offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi who left for Cleveland as a free agent. Andruzzi was known as a tough player who would play through pain and was very good at finishing off his blocks, and that appears to be exactly what the Patriots are getting in Mankins.

Scouts, Inc., which correctly predicted that the Patriots would take Mankins at the end of the first round, called him "a solid athlete with good technique and a mean streak."

According to Mankins he's never had any problems with his intensity on the field. He's had the occasional penalty for personal fouls and late hits, but nothing out of the ordinary.

"I am always trying to push guys until they fall down," said Mankins during a phone interview on Saturday.

As far as Belichick's concerned, he's just fine with the way Mankins plays the game.

"[It is] a lot easier to tone him down than to try to put him in the other direction," Belichick told reporters over the weekend. "I think he has a good playing style. He is tough. He is aggressive. He is a good finisher. That is one of the things that we really liked about him."

Mankins went to Fresno State as a walk-on, and ended up with an impressive resume. Playing left tackle, the former Bulldog did not allow a sack in 387 consecutive pass plays to end his career, and allowed just three sacks in 40 career games. It's earned him plenty of recognition both with his former coach, Pat Hill, along with opposing college players.

"I'm so proud of Logan," said Fresno State coach Pat Hill on the school's official website. "He worked so hard from the first day he stepped on campus and to have him become an NFL first-round pick is a testament to his ability and work ethic. As I said before, he is the best college lineman I've ever coached and to be the fourth linemen taken in the NFL draft shows how special a player he is."

"He's very strong," Hawaii defensive tackle Lui Fuga told the Star Bulletin.com in an interview last year of Mankins. "You cannot just be nice with him, you have to strike him first."

"He'll take you down if you don't."

Needless to say he should fit in just fine in New England.

According to the Fresno Bee there were other teams who showed an interest in Mankins prior to last weekend's draft. The Houston Texans reportedly flew him in for a physical, and he also conducted private workouts in Fresno for Seattle, St. Louis and New England. Other teams that had contacted him also reportedly included Dallas, Philadelphia, Carolina, Miami and Pittsburgh.

The physical by the Texans was likely to check his ACL in his right knee, which he tore during fall workouts and caused him to miss the 2003 season. He bounced back in 2004 and didn't miss a beat and told reporters that "my knee is fine now. I haven't had any problems with it"Ě.

Mankins is a native of Catheys Valley and is said to be a mature player, which doesn't come as much of a surprise since he has two children (a daughter, Kaylee, and a son, Case). He had reportedly planned to get married as soon as they settled in an NFL city, which now appears will be somewhere near Foxboro. He sports a grizzly Fu Manchu, weighs 307 pounds, and also, according to an article in the Enterprise, has pair of 11-1/8 inch hands which were used to herd cattle on the family ranch in Catheys Valley, a California hillside town with a population of just 984 that offers two stores, a gas station, a bar and an elementary school. At the age of 15 Mankins was reportedly the youngest champion ever at the Mariposa County Fair when Mankins paired up with his father, Tim, in the team roping competition.

If he could handle cattle, it's not a wonder he handled opposing defensive linemen so easily in college. Now Belichick will try to see exactly where Mankins will fit in on the offensive line heading into this season.

"We feel like he is a good football player and think he will fit in well with us,"Ě said Belichick. "We will see what he can do when he gets here, but he has some versatility and that may create some opportunities for him. We'll just see how that works out."Ě

"I'm looking forward to working with him. I think he is a tough guy that has had a really good career at Fresno and has some versatility that goes with it."


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