Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Miguel, Jul 26, 2006.
I'd say that is a fair evaluation for us. Definitely a top 10 line when we are healthy. Good thing for Scarnecchia.
When fans question the Patriots, one of the things overlooked is the Trenches.
The Defensive Line has had much more attention and features four #1 draft picks along with a #2 and #4. If it isn't the best line in the league, its because it plays the read and react 3-4 and consequently doesn't accumulate great sack totals, it certainly is in the top three.
The weaker position is the Offensive line. It has had less draft attention and talented draft picks allocated. But the Patriots have built a good line from talented players of the second and third rank. That is not to say there is no talent there. Light was a #2, Mankins was a late #1, and Kaycur was a #3. So there is good talent and depth at LOT. None will be a permanent pro bowl participant but any of a Light, a Mankins, a Koppen, or a Neal could get an invite before their career is done. And even Kaycur could qualify. That's five guys, tackle to tackle, who are red-chip players, and might have a blue chip season or two in them.
The others are Koppen #5, Hochstein #5, Gorin #7, Britt #5, Callaghan #5, Stevenson #6. Neal was an All-American heavyweight Wrestling champion with size and a wrestler's quickness and strength but an UDFA who had to learn to play football from scratch.
In fairness, both Britt and Callaghan were more highly rated players possibly second or third round picks, who dropped to injuries in the their Senior year.
Mruczkowski and Yates are undrafted players educated in Dante's Postgraduate School. Of such is a great Offensive line constructed. The ranking of seventh best in the league, after as tough year including injuries and breaking in rookies, bodes well for the future.
So the Patriots are solid in the trenches; probably better than any of the Super Bowl clubs in that category. They are extraordinarily deep and young. No one on either line has reached his thirtieth birthday either, so they can still be expected to get better.
Would you seriously prefer a Defensive line of Anthony Pleasant, Bobby Hamilton, and Richard Seymour as a NT? Or an Offensive line of Light, Andruzzi, Compton, Woody, and Kenyatta Jones? There may be problems elsewhere but the trenches are a strength.
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