RG Dan "The Flash" Connolly For a UFA, Dan Connolly has really developed into a strong, continuously improving presence on our O Line. Connolly strikes me as the kind of guy who ~ very much like Rob Ninkovich ~ quietly improves each year...until the day comes when it suddenly occurs to everyone that the guy ~ who most of us simply dismissed as an afterthought when he first worked his way onto the top 53 ~ has almost secretly become a vital part of our team. When all is said and done, I believe that Dan Connolly will be looked upon as one of the most improved and essential Patriots of 2012...and for very good reason. OC Ryan Wendell I've never been a big fan of Ryan Wendell....But he's growing on me!! Simply put: the kid's grown into'is Frame. He always did boast impressive Athleticism. And now, by the Gods, that bastard can Anchor. Center is ~ arguably ~ the 3rd most critical position on the Field. When I heard that The Marquis de Pouncey ~ one of my very first Super Binkies in the 2010 Draft ~ was Out, I instantly bellowed that the Steelers ~ previously and still "favorites" ~ had become Underdogs in Super Bowl 45. And that is why the surprising Accession of Ryan Wendell ~ Props, Brother Bill The Mad (Genius)!! ~ is awesome. We have two Starting Caliber Centers, if not three, and that is utterly invaluable to The Championship Quest. LG Logan's "Run" Mankins It's been several years since that blessed day in 2005 that I heard the magnificent news that the Patriots had drafted Logan Mankins, and I am still enraptured with this ferocious, mauling, Beast. Nobody needs me to tell them that Logan Mankins is one'f the most powerfull, savage O Guards in the Game. I just wish we'd Run more often, for it is when he's attacking the Defenders ~ especially smaller, faster guys like the Giants have so many of ~ that Mankins' Fury really makes a demolishing, bone-crushing and triumphant Impact. And this might be the year that we do just that. OG Donald Thomas Donald Thomas is intriguing. 6 years ago, our potential Opening Day Right Guard was a Tight End. This was just 18 months before he got drafted ~ this former standout Defensive Tackle, standout 1st Baseman, Pitcher, and of course: standout Center ~ Basketball Center ~ as an O Guard!! Did I mention that he was also a member of the National Honor Society?? And he's already played Full Back in Mad Bill's offense in his short time, here, this versatile, 53rd man kind of guy. I can't help but sense a whiff of "Rob Ninkovich" about this kid. And that, Ladies and Laddies, is high praise, indeed. Given his Body of Work as an Offensive Guard, I'm inclined to question'is Core Strength, his Fluidity, and his Launch Velocity. Yet Thomas, who exhibited a remarkable level of Versatility that can easily be said to've been a great boon to'is College team but a detriment to his interests ~ because it discouraged Coaches from dedicating him to one position where he could focus on mastering his Craft ~ just might be a bit more ~ perhaps a great deal more ~ than meets the eye. As Fans, we are forced, due to a limited amount of Information ~ which of course is necessary, for obvious reasons ~ to make our deductions based, always, on incomplete Data...yes?? Given that...I can't help but wonder if Donald Thomas eventually turns out to be Dan Connollly II. OG Nick McDonald Props to Brother Nabwong of PatsFans.com, for ferretting out this astonishing Back Story!! ESPN ~ Nick McDonald Makes a Mother ~ BOTH Mothers!! ~ Proud!! Brother MayoClinic, of PatsFans.com fame, has been, far and away, the leading BellRinger for Nick McDonald, Scrapper Extraordinaire. He found this intriguing Article, before we yoinked McDonald away from'm, quoting Packers Coach Mike McCarthy about McDonald, who he clearly held in high regard: Journal Sentinel ~ Coach McCarthy High On Rookie Offensive Lineman McDonald McDonald's very first Game as a Pro was last December, when he was suddenly thrown into the fray as a starting Center, the day after he was activated!! Considering the Center's responsibilities and our complex Offense, one might assume that a spectacular disaster would ensue...But he played a remarkably strong game. Processing Speed. For a raw kid who came from a small school, had never played Center at all until just 16 months previously, and who was making his Professional debut in a complex Offense...his success that day was astonishing. And it told me all I need to know about his Capacity to Rapidly React and React at the Pro Level, which is the most vital attribute a player can command at any position, and even more critical for a Center. And McDonald ~ who grades out solidly if moderately in Strength, Power, and Agility ~ has convinced me that he commands enough of it to go a long, long way in this League. I'd be surprised if he didn't develop into a starter, with another year or so in Dante's School of Dancing Bears...and probably a good one.