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A Year To Develop An Offensive Lineman?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mgteich, Feb 22, 2011.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Obviously, an OL drafted from 17 onward could start. However, it seems reasonable to allow a year for an offensive lineman to be a starter. Vollmer was allowed that luxury.

    Consider that we need to add, re-sign or extend FOUR starters for the 2012 season. This is THE challenge of this offseason.

    We talk about getting an upgrade or two in the defenisve front seven to improve from our defense that gave us a 14-3 season, over and above the improvement to be had from the maturing of the kids and the return of Bodden and Warren. That's fine. I agree that we should secure such upgrades.

    But let's face some reality. We face a serious DOWNGRADE in our offense if we do not take action on the OL. Maintaining the quality of our OL will be a HUGE challenge.

    I consider this and then see us accepting mock drafts that includes one shot at a starter with the 92nd pick in the draft.
     
  2. townes

    townes Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I agree, as much as a pass rush is a need maintaining a high quality OL is the number one priority going into this offseason. Unlike others I think Light will return at a reasonable price, so one spot will be resolved and they will need to focus on OG. I see them drafting an interior OL high (first 2 rounds) and another in mid rounds, and adding a quality free agent who plays inside. Mankins will be the wild card, and if both he and Light return then they will be well on their way to having one of the best OL's in football for the next few years.
     
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I see our situation very differently with regard to tackles and interior linemen.
    =========================
    TACKLES
    Even if we don't re-sign Light, we still have Vollmer at LT and Kaczur at RT, with Maneri and LeVoir as backups. I would want to improve on this, and I do believe that this is a very high priority. However, the situation at OT is one where we have many options, including the option of no major additions, IF Kaczur is healthy enough to be counted on. In any case, we should sign a veteran backup, as we have in the past. Re-signing Ojinnaka would be a fine choice.

    BOTTOM LINE
    We need improvement. We have a fine opportunity with three picks in the first 33. We should draft an OT early.
    =========================
    INTERIOR LINEMEN
    I don't think that we will have Mankins on the team for 2012. For planning purposes, we certainly shouldn't count on him. That leaves us several players, none of which I would like to count on as a starter in 2012.

    SIGNED THROUGH 2011
    With no additions, we will count on Connolly, Koppen and Neal to start in 2011. All are in the last year of of their contracts.

    SIGNED THROUGH 2012
    With no additions, we have Ohrnberger and RFA Wendell for 2012.

    BOTTOM LINE - ARE YOU KIDDING!!!
    We are supposed to be planning for 2012. We have FIVE interior line positions. We have Ohrnberger and Wendell for 2012. The cupboard is empty! The situation is so bad that I think that we may need to carry an extra developmental interior lineman in order to both prepare for 2012 and have adequate backups in 2011. Wendell is a critical backup for 2011 at both center and guard.
    =========================
     
  4. Dufflebagz

    Dufflebagz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    We could use a an OL with 17, 28, or 33...there should be potential starters available for each of those picks and I expect us to get an OL with one of these picks.

    We NEED to draft an OL later in the draft also, maybe two. We'll develop them and hopefully they will be ready to start in '12 because in 2012 our OL will look way different than it does now....hopefully without too much of a drop in in talent.
     
  5. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I really think BB drafts three O Linemen in this draft.

    Regardless of if we resign Light or not, we have to consider that Kazcur is an unknown in terms of health and for that reason alone, I think we need to take a tackle.

    I am not convinced we need to take one highly, as much as I am convinced we need to take one that fits our zone blocking scheme. Part of the reason that Vollmer fit so nicely, almost from day one, into our O line is because he came from Houston a team with a very scheme much like ours.

    For the last two months I have had us taking with our first pick in the third round, Ziemba of the national champion Auburn Tigers. He is a great fit for our O line as a ROT. (Vollmer moving to LOT) Auburn does not play a zone blocking scheme, but Ziemba projects incredibly well into our scheme based on how Auburn played him and has some nastiness to his game.

    On the interior of the O line, we have an exceptional OG, an injured OG who could retire, an under sized center, Connelly a decent utility player and some young untested bodies.

    The key with these guys is they have to be smart, play as a unit, must be mobile not fat and slobby, and must be technique masters. In past posts I would say that an offseason with Woicik is huge for these type players, but BB hosed that up for us.

    Fortunately there are some guys that really fit our scheme well in this draft that we can pick up on day two or three.

    In my mind Boling of Georgia is must for us regardless of what happens with Makins and Neal.

    At center we could pick up Kirkpatrick of TCU on day three and when combines with Ziemba and Boling have three guys that could start by year two or three and be better than solid as starters.
     
  6. Criptonite

    Criptonite Practice Squad Player

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    I cannot see us taking a lineman really early this year simply because the class is very weak at the top. Sure it would be nice to take a lineman in round 1, but there is nobody worthy. Therefore we'd have to make a serious reach for a player. Now if the line was in shambles, I could understand reaching. I think we'll resign Light and I don't think Neal will make it back. Our 2011 line would be Light-Mankins-Koppen-Kaczur-Vollmer with Connolly and LeVoir as the main backups. That's not the greatest line ever, but it's not bad. I think where we see value among the offensive linemen in this draft is around rounds 3, 4 and 5. I think there's some good players, especially in the interior, who have the potential to be starters come 2012. Using a first round pick on a guy with potential who may develop into a starter doesn't make much sense when we can use a 4th round pick for the same thing. I just don't see that "great" prospect out there who I'd be comfortable spending #17 on. Carimi, Pouncey, Sherrod and Wisniewski are all solid, but nowhere near great. Ijalana and Tyron Smith are projects. Hudson is small, Watkins is old, Costanzo and Solder simply aren't that good. I think when we are looking forward to 2012, the way to go is via free agency, trading, mid-late round picks and if all else fails, draft someone early next year.
     
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, I understand that the easiest way to solve the problem is to assume that we re-sign Mankins and Light. Even with both back, you assess the OL as only "not bad". Consider the line if they don't come back.

    You say the draft is weak at the top. Fine, no one is talking about the 1st half of the first round. Why do you think the 3rd through 5th rounds are SO STRONG that we will have no trouble finding THREE starters for 2012. That presumes Vollmer plus one from the current group (Light in your scenario).

    IMHO, the place to find linemen in this draft is between 16 and 64. Apparently, you think that the draft is much STRONGER than I do.

    And just BTW, how can a draftee be too old to play for us over the next four years?

     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  8. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    This is GOSPEL.

    And it's why I was so ADAM ANT about scooping The Marquis de Pouncey, this past Spring: NOW we have to ride with KoppenHagen for TWO years. :mad:

    SUPER BEASTS...are PRECIOUS.

    As Brother Crip spells out so eloquently, there ARE no O Line Grizzlies to draft in the early rounds, this year, with the possible exception, depending on how his official measurements come out this week, of Danny Watkins, though Crip wouldn't sign off on that. Tyron Smith is VERY worthy, but for me, the lurking presence of Willie Smith in the latter rounds completely obviates that need.

    In any case, it would be premature to ASSUME that we lose Matt Light or Logan Mankins at this early juncture. If the CBA isn't hammered out before the Draft, only at that time does it make sense to adjust our fire.

    In the meantime, we only have TWO areas of UpGrade needed, and those are obviously Center and Right Guard.

    And Center...we're just going to have to live with, until next year...

    Right Guard...Well, I'm holding off my opinion until I see how Danny Watkins ~ of whom I've always been an huge fan, mind you, my reservations not withstanding ~ measures and performs at The Combine.
     
  9. Criptonite

    Criptonite Practice Squad Player

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    With Mankins franchised, I include him as being on the team next year. I know that that doesn't guarantee he's with us, but neither does any contract in the NFL. Anyone can be cut by the team or decide to hold out at any time. So currently the starting line is: Vollmer-Mankins-Koppen-Neal-Kaczur. IMO that line is very similar to what we had had last season. Last season we ranked 4th in sacks allowed in the passing game and 10th in average in the run game. So even without Light or even if Neal leaves and we replace him with Connolly, I think we are in decent shape for 2011. But I do still agree with you that we need to get more youth on the line.


    You said, "We have a fine opportunity with three picks in the first 33. We should draft an OT early." I got the impression you meant you were looking for a tackle at any one of those three picks. I didn't say that we'd have no trouble finding three starters between the 3rd and 5th rounds. I just think that most of the linemen drafted in round 1 are not much greater than those expected to be available in rounds 3-5. I see teams reaching for Costanzo, Tyron Smith, Solder, etc. I think after teams draft these 2nd round values in round 1, we'll be left with 3rd round values in rounds 3-5. Players like Barksdale, Gilbert, Pinkston and Reid for tackles and Arkin, Boling, Boren, Cannon, Love, Moffitt, Rackley and Ziemba for guards.

    Well Watkins will turn 27 this season and he's not a finished product. I just don't like the idea of spending a high draft pick on a player who comes into the league that old. I do like him as a prospect though. If he was to slip, I wouldn't mind scooping him up later on in the draft.
     
  10. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I can only assume that the Pats' brain trust has a pretty good handle on the potential disposition of Light, Mankins, Neal and Kaczur and will draft accordingly. So, really, for the rest of us, we won't KNOW anything until after the draft . . . and even then we'll merely have more fuel for speculation.

    All I feel justified in talking about is which players I like and why and what I think they might be worth in terms of draft pick.
     
  11. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    While Watkins might be "old" in absolute terms he probably doesn't have much wear and tear on his body, and his long term productions isn't my highest priority, as I'm more focused on getting someone really good who can produce during Brady's window.

    From what I've seen of Watkins he can come in and produce right away, if he was younger he'd easily be a 1st round pick.
     
  12. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So Koppen does not count?
     
  13. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

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    For the record, the GBN Mock (which I presume you are referring to) was almost unanimously considered a fail.

    It should be noted however that there were several decent prospects still available beyond the 3rd round in that mock draft (eg. Moffit and Boling). The good news is the Pats have a franchise LT whether Light resigns or not so I don't see the need for the Pats to reach with a high round pick on a tackle.
     
  14. sbpatfan

    sbpatfan Banned

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    We might not know how the team personally feels about guys like Neal, Kaczur, and Light but we do know they're hella old and injury prone. Addressing the offensive line in the draft is pretty much a certainty unless someone is off their rocker, the question is when.
     
  15. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    My guess is the FO went to Light with a contract but because he is a player rep he felt he couldnt sign it. There very well may be a deal set in place but we will certainly know if they dont take a OT in the first 2 rounds. As for Mankins, much like Cassel, his franchising is a business decision. That doesnt mean we cant drop the tag later or trade him.... That said we certainly need OL in this draft. We tried some late round fliers last year without luck. I would say we should take 1 OT and 1 interior OL in the first 3 rounds, and I would say if we dont take a T that a deal is already in place with Light. That said, when Vollmer comes up other teams are going to make him a LT and pay him appropriately.....more than we can pay him at RT. We should bite the bullet and make that switch now and use a high pick for a new RT. Save our money for a PASS RUSHER please!!
     
  16. Armchair Quarterback

    Armchair Quarterback In the Starting Line-Up

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    Vollmer started 8 games his rookie season. Every Olineman drafted by the Patriots in the first three rounds under BB has started a significant number of games whether it was because of injuries or not.

    Vollmer- 2nd round 09-started 8 games
    Mankins-1st round 05-started 16 games
    Kaczur- 3rd round 05-started 11 games
    Light- 2nd round 01-started 12 games
    Klemm- 2nd round 00-started 4 games (after being activated from PUP list on November 1.)
     
  17. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Well done, sir.

    It seemed strange to me ~ as I'm sure it did, to many ~ that anyone could overlook Vollmer's EMPHATIC impact on the 2009 season.

    And you did a great job of DESTROYING the Urban Legend that Grizzlies don't start in their first year.

    They often DO, often after a month or two of learning.
     
  18. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    Someone mentioned this is a weak draft for OTs......yes....only if you're looking for a top 10 pick.

    Getting one of the top OTs at the end of rd 1 and a guy like John Moffitt in rd 3 would stock the unit nicely and still provide plenty of picks to address other needs
     
  19. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I still do not expect that Belichick will wait for the 3rd round for a player he expects to be able to compete for a starting spot in 2011. Given the talent level at 15-35 at OG and OT, I will be shocked if we do not take one with one of these two picks.

    If we do not re-sign Light or Mankins and there is no free agency before the draft, then we will have the following going into the draft.

    Vollmer, Connolly, Koppen, Neal, Kaczur
    LeVoir, Wendell, LeVoir and Maneri

    Many say that we have succeeded with an under average RT, or an under average LG, or an under average RG or and under average C. After Herr Volmer, who else is a dependable strong starter?
     
  20. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yup, same as last year, when we didn't draft an OG. We were all sure that a deal with Mankins MUST be near.

    Given our needs and number of picks in the first 3 rounds, I would strongly prefer for us to draft at least 2 top offensive linemen in the first two rounds. After the top two, I would still be looking to get one of Moffitt, Boling, Ziemba and Kirkpatick.

    Consider our team with one of the OT's and Watkins or Weisnewski at 28 and 33 AND Moffitt at 92.

    We could have three opportunitie for front seven players a 17 and 60 and 74. We could even use 74 to move up.
    =======================================================================

    BOTTOM LINE - FIVE GOOD MEN IN THE TOP 100 - FIVE GRIZZLIES (OL, DL or OLB) - WE NEED AT LEAST FOUR
    I understand that we have 6 picks. That pick could be used for a RB, WR or traded into 2012. But the real needs are clear: OT, OG, OG/OC, DE and OLB.

    And no I would not be hugely disappointed if we got our 2 OL's by 33 and then waited until the 4th or 5th round for our 3rd OL (as patchick has suggested).

     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
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