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The Offensive Line Needs Lots Of Help

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mgteich, Oct 27, 2010.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I guess it is a given that we will draft at least a couple of offensive linemen.

    The open question may be how many changes can we absorb in the 2011 OL. If we are pessimistic, all we have going forward is Vollmer and we want to move him to LT. This gives us new players at EVERY OL position in the next two seasons,!!!! The team is capable of such transitions. We have seen it in the secondary and at linebacker.

    TACKLE
    Personally, I think that we will be fine with two (or even three) of Vollmer, Kaczur and Light. I'd extend Light in a heartbeat if I could, "overpaying" to solidify the position. Light's performance is down a bit, but he doesn't have Mankins next to him. Kaczur has been underrated by this board since he arrived and STARTED at LT in his rookie year. He did OK, but not great. The issue is his injury. LeVoir has regressed, but could make the roster again as the #4 OT.

    CENTER
    Koppen has one more year at most. I suppose the good news is that we have OK backups in Connolly and Wendell (but they are NOT starters). The failure of the Larsen pick hurt. For the third year in a row, we will go into the draft needing an interior lineman who projects to be a future starting center. We need to do better than drafting Ohrnberger and Larsen.

    GUARD
    What can I say? It was 100% clear that we had an issue going into the 2010 draft (some would say 2009). We have Neal who cannot be counted on for a full season. And we have backups who rotate depending on how they are playing. I believe that we should project an interior line without Neal, and be pleasantly surprised with any production we get out of him in 2011. Make no mistake, I think that we should keep him on the roster and start him if he is ready and able.

    BOTTOM LINE
    We are fine at OT if Kaczur is OK after his injury OR IF Light can be counted on and re-signed. Either would have us being OK at tackle, and still looking for a kid to fill out the roster (Welch was the 2010 attempt).

    The interior line is an absolute mess. HOWEVER, the good news is that rookie interior linemen can often step right in and be productiive (more so than at any position but running back). The other good news is that we have lots of early picks and few other needs that would require a pick in the first couple of rounds.

    I certainly would be a happy camper if we drafted three linemen in the first two rounds (one for the defense and two for the offense).
     
  2. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    I am in complete agreement, although I'm not as confident in our Tackle situation.

    Bill absolutely must draft at least 2 (preferably 3) OLmen with our first 7 picks next year;
    Tom Brady's very health depends upon it.

    In lieu of drafting so many OLmen, perhaps a FA signing or 2 would be in order.
    Here's the (very short, so far) list of 2011 UFA OLmen, acc. to KFFL:
    KFFL - 2011 NFL Free Agents

    I would love to sign Justin Blalock. He can play both Guard spots & RT, is young, very smart
    and is a solid citizen.
     
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    2011 O-line

    -- Re-sign Light.
    -- Re-sign Mankins if they can. Connolly's struggles against SD will be corrected. Wendell proved adequate as a reserve.
    -- Koppen is signed. Connolly & Wendell are adequate reserves.
    -- Neal is signed. Orhnberger is still my best guess for Neal's designated replacement.
    -- Vollmer is the present & future at RT. Ojinnaka seems to have moved ahead of LeVoir, but that also may be due to his value as a Guard & Tackle. LeVoir has been a solid Swing Tackle.
    -- Kaczur's health is a question, but he is also a starter quality Tackle who Coach Scar believes can move inside to Guard.
    -- Maneri is in transition, what he may be capable of is yet to be determined, but Scar's BMDA has a decent success rate.
    -- Thomas Austin's physical limitations will be improved by working with Coaches Woicik and Nash.

    Draft

    Tackles scouted:
    -- Nate Solder (Colorado): Converted TE, still raw, but he appears to have a similar skill set to Vollmer. My guess: 2nd round value
    -- Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State): Reportedly rising up draft boards, has some RT experience, but has been at LT most of his career. My guess: Low 1st round value.
    -- Danny Watkins (Baylor): Raw hockey kid playing LT, he'll probably need to move inside to Guard, but he has that nasty attitude Scar loves. My guess: Day Three.
    -- Clint Boling (Georgia): LT, RT, Guard, he does it all and he's good, very good. My guess: 2nd round value.
    -- Butch Lewis, (Southern Cal): Currently LG, but he's got starts at RT too. Projected 7th round.
    -- Joseph Barksdale, (LSU): LT, was starting RT past two years. Projected 7th round.
    -- Jarriel King, (South Carolina): LT with starts at LG. Projected 7th round.
    -- Benjamin Ijalana, (Villanova): LT. Projected late 3rd.
    -- Will Rackley, (Lehigh): LT. Projected Day Two.
    -- Jeff Adams, (Louisville): RT. Possible UDFA.
    -- DeMarcus Love, (Arkansas): LT. Projected Day Two.
    -- Marcus Cannon, (TCU): RT. Projected Day Two.
    -- Tyron Smith, (Southern Cal): #1 ranked junior for NFL Draft Scout. RT who may choose to come out early.
    -- Jason Pinkston, (Pittsburgh): LT with RT & FB experience. Projected Day Two.
    -- Joel Figueroa, (Miami): RT, prior starter at RG. Projected UDFA.
    -- Cody Habben, (Washington): RT with LT experience. Day Three projection.
    -- Darius Morris, (Temple): RT. Day Three projection.

    Centers scouted:
    -- Kris O'Dowd, (Southern Cal): Currently NFLDS #2 Center, Day Two grade.
    -- Jason Kelce, (Cincinnati): Projected 7th round.
    -- J.C. Brignone, (Mississippi State): Projected UDFA.
    -- Alex Linnenkohl, (Oregon State): Projected 7th round.
    -- Cameron Zipp, (Southern Missisippi): Projected UDFA.
    -- Colin Miller, (Central Michigan): Projected UDFA.
    -- Jake Kirkpatrick, (TCU): Projected Day Two.
    -- Ryan McMahon, (Florida State): Projected UDFA.
    -- Joey Bailey, (Vanderbilt): Projected UDFA.
    -- Chris Olson, (Texas Tech): Projected UDFA.

    Guards scouted:
    -- Colin Madison, (Temple): 2009 All-Mac. Projected UDFA.
    -- Orlando Franklin, (Miami): LG with one start at LT. Projected Day Two.
    -- Rodney Hudson, (Florida State): LG. All-American. NFLDS #1 OG. Late 1st projection.
     
  4. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Absolutely agree with your sentiment, but this doesn't look like a draft class with very good OL value. The first OT may get picked in the 20's. I don't know if that has ever happened before (certainly not in my memory). Actually, someone like Costanzo or Sherrod will likely get overdrafted due to team needs overwhelming the quality tackles. When demand is so much larger than supply, it is not a great time to be shopping. The interior linemen are equally underwhelming.

    IMO, this is not the year to be using the draft to transition the OL. Depending on how the draft falls, someone like Hudson or Wisniewski may fall into a desirable range for the Pats (mid-to-late 2nd) but it doesn't seem likely. Unless the answer is already on the team (Connolly, Ohrnberger, Wendell, Ojinnaka, Maneri), OL in the one area I'm a little apprehensive about looking forward. Everywhere else the team is either set or the combination of 2011 picks/available talent seems extremely favorable.
     
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As I have indicated, I am not as concerned about the need at OT as some others are.

    However, the need in the interior of the line is important.
    Will Mankins come back (unlikley)'
    How much will we get out of Neal?
    Koppen for another year seems to be our destiny, with Wendell as a backup.

    For me this means evaluating free agency AND the draft and bringing in two interior linemen, or Mankins plus one. I would also be fine with two OL's in the first couple of rounds.
     
  6. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #3 Jersey

    I think that this is an exceptional analysis of our situation.

    As much as I love drafting Grizzlies ~ I was pounding the table for us to draft Marquis de Pouncey, Charlie Brown, AND Ramon Harewood, last year ~ I actually find myself preferring to go after Value and Projects, this coming year, with a mind, I'm sorry to say, to expecting to start the year with the possibility of all three of Koppen, Neal, and Light still in the starting lineup. And it would be FOUR less than stellar possibilities, if my projected hope of Mankins coming back to his senses were to fail to come to pass...which is obviously a very real possibility.

    I'll be doing some serious digging, over the next 6 months, to see if I can't sniff out some "A" level raw skills at Center, Guard, and Right Tackle, and then get to praying that Coach Bill pulls them in.

    Damned shame that we lost Larsen. That really made me cringe, as he definitely seemed to have exceptional potential. I actually liked Welch, as well, but you can't protect everybody, of course.
     
  7. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think the draft is that destitute, not with the picks available anyway. As far as overdrafting, as fans we don't have the time or knowledge to truly assess that potential, at least not until there's a couple years of hindsight to guide us.
    -- Nate Solder is ranked as a late first/early second by NFL Draft Scout. I saw a raw Vollmer-like player when I watched him against California - a game most claimed lowered his draft grade. I think we could argue Vollmer would be a Top 15 pick in draft hindsight, as hard as NE has looked at the Colorado program this year, I can see them drafting Solder late first and not overdrafting - and if he truly is another Vollmer, he's easily a Top 15 value.
    -- Derek Sherrod is still where he's been all year, near the top of most draft boards. Should he go Top 10 over DL and CB? Probably not, but anyone who took him that high would still get a 10 year starter, so he's probably not overdrafted.

    Be of stout heart. Light is very likely to be re-signed. I still hold out hope that Mankins objections can be resolved once he's back with the team. Regardless, Connolly had one bad game, I have confidence in Scar being able to correct the situation. While Kaczur's health is an issue, I know my own back improved greatly with rest, with NE's Training staff to help him, I expect him back in good shape. Scar helped NE win two Superbowls with Brandon Gorin and Tom Ashworth, good lads, but they've since been upgraded by Kaczur, then Vollmer. I don't think things are all that bad today, and just one of Solder, Boling, Sherrod, or Watkins pretty much settles things, for example:
    -- re-sign Light.
    -- draft Solder with 1b or 2a.
    -- new left side: Solder, Light. Connolly kicks back to #1 interior reserve. The line continuity stays intact.
    or ...
    -- re-sign Light.
    -- draft Boling with 2a or 2b.
    -- try the younger man outside, if he isn't working, kick him inside and move Light back outside.

    You could insert Sherrod into either one of the above scenarios and have the same result. And you can insert Watkins as the new Mankins at LG and have another couple drafts to replace Light. And all that is before we know if Kaczur comes back healthy. It's only a nightmare if you've spent 10 years waiting for Light to get beaten by a speed rusher so you can perform a virtual suicide ceremony, and then wait eagerly for the next opportunity. :p
     
  8. JackBauer

    JackBauer Pro Bowl Player

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    Koppen should not be starting at OC next season.
     
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You seem to be willing to count on Light AND Koppen AND Neal. That being tha case, you see the need to re-sign Light and a high draft back to fill the two needs.

    Others are not quite as optimistic regarding the 2011 play of at least one the three that you would count on.

     
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yep, Light's worst game in quite a while, and NE still wound up going 5-1. Pity. Let's recycle the arguments we've been using since 2001 and his first outing with Jason Taylor or Aaron Schobel, that will clinch it for us. :deadhorse:

    The guy is a 10 year starter on a perennial post-season contender, four Super Bowl trips, three rings, a couple Pro-Bowls, and the team is 5-1 with a reorganizing offense and the youngest defense in the NFL ... and they've played two of the three teams being kicked around as the #1 team to beat in 2010. They're 50/50 there, but all things considered, you can't kick that hard.

    Now, it amuses me to note that NE is looking pretty hard at possible draft targets with some LT potential. 70% of Rick Gosselin's Top 10 OL have had a NE scout drive by them. That doesn't guarantee you a replacement, and it doesn't speak to anything other than NE's preparation for the unknown in 2011 when Light has to be re-signed or replaced. And who's to say he's not asked to partner with another college LT starting at LG?

    People who want Vollmer at LT may or may not get their wish. I doubt they do, I think Dante likes what Vollmer brings to the right side and wants to keep it going.

    People who want Neal gone are worrying about his injury history, and not appreciating that every game he starts for NE makes that right side that much better. With Connolly as contrast, Neal might just get some Pro-Bowl love this year. It's too much to hope he gets All-Pro, though I think he's as good a candidate as anyone.

    So that leaves Koppen, the Quarterback of the O-line. Why aren't we demanding NE draft Cam Newton to replace that statue who lines up behind Koppen? There's some biatching because Koppen occasionally loses a one-on-one battle with a 340+ lb NT. Dan may not be perfect, just as that other Quarterback behind him isn't perfect, but Mike Vicks or their Center equivalent aren't always the answer. I'll ride with the guy who has helped NE to three Super Bowls and has two rings, and a Pro-Bowl trip of his own. His warts may be showing, but his team is still 5-1 despite his detractors here.

    In Scar I trust. :cool:
     
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with your analysis.

    It keeps the OL intact except for the upgrade to Connolly. We still would have our experienced backups in Connolly and Wendell (with Kaczur and Ojinnaka at OT).

    This plan hinges on Light being re-signed AND the drafting a player who is ready to start at LG or LT. Of course, Connolly (or Kaczur) is always available for Plan B at LG.

    As you, I wouldn't be surprised to see Light at LG if the rook is available to be our starting LT.
    ==============
    But for me, while you plan is viable, I would like us to bring in TWO rooks AND re-sign Light. That would give us much more flexibility. This is especially true if either Kaczur or Neal are not at 100% health at the time of the draft.




     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
  12. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I anticipate a minimum of one Day Two draft pick, one Day Three, and at least two UDFAs.

    This is the only Free Agent list I can find that's somewhat current (which isn't saying much), and none of the UFAs on there really grab me. Free Agents
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
  13. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Heh! Strong Arguments, Brother Rox, strong Arguments.

    I'm as guilty as anyone of defenestrating most of the Front Wall. But it comes from a philosophical view point that verges ~ "verges"? ~ on the Extreme: Until we have something like:

    LT Michael Oher
    LG Logan Mankins
    C Nick Mangold
    RG Jahri Evans
    RT Sebastian Vollmer


    ...I won't be satisfied.

    I still retain the residual disgust of Super Bowl 42: The Patriots ought NEVER lose that way. Super Bowl 20 stung far less, and not just because it wasn't close: It was because we went into that game playing hard-nosed, SmashMouth, Move the Chains, Tenacious D Patriot FootBall, and while we may've gotten DESTROYED, at least we didn't look like the @#$%^&* COLTS. :mad:
     
  14. Palm Beach Pats Fan

    Palm Beach Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Good working list. I would also add the other Pouncey twin still at UF. Michael Pouncey has had inconsistencies in his snapping, so he might be better off at G, though some of that may be due to a new QB and him having to move over from G this year. Physically there is little difference with his twin brother who has of course excelled so far as a Steeler.
     
  15. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Pouncey needs to be at OG, he is horrible at center and his wobbly snaps have led to Brantley taking a beating. He has single handedly ruined Brantley's confidence.

    The best run blocking OT in college is Carmini of Wisconsin. Not sure he has the feet to play tackle in the pros, maybe RT.

    The best OG I have seen play is Moffitt also of Wisconsin. Is he mobile enough to play for BB?

    The best center I have seen play is O'Dowd of USC, however I think he is hurt now or just getting over an injury.
     
  16. SteveBelichick

    SteveBelichick Rookie

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    Well put! But I'd go even further and add every player from UF, Iowa, Fresno State, 'Bama and Rutgers. Belichick has inside information on those teams from being close to their head coaches, and he's been using it well, specially in the 2010 draft: one player from Rutgers, one from Alabama and three from Florida, all of which made the roster :singing:
     
  17. reamer

    reamer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Moffitt also played center for a year or two. I love his run-blocking, and he's solid in pass pro, too. I'd love to see us draft him, but I don't know if he fits our guard prototype. He's got a lot of sloppy weight in his midsection. If he trimmed down, I'd love to give him a shot. He's really fun to watch play--a real old school, smashmouth type of blocker.
     
  18. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The only problem with 42 was the coaching decision to not pound the ball a little more on the last scoring drive to kill more clock - there was a reason NYG defenders were being helped off the field after every play, those big boys ran themselves into the ground and were wiped out. If NE just kills another minute before scoring, the game is over.

    Oher? After Jermaine Cunningham made him his biatch?

    Is Evans playing like an $8M man this season?

    Elite players at every position mean nothing if they don't fit the scheme and don't play as a team.
     
  19. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't see Wisconsin OL on the NE draft board. Dallas, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans yes, NE no.
     
  20. Taxed in Maine

    Taxed in Maine On the Game Day Roster

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    This is what I have been thinking also. My plan goes something like -

    Resign Light, maybe a two year deal?

    Draft an OT early and a C (that can play G also) in like the 4th.

    The season starts out with

    Light - Kaczur - Koppen - Connolly - Vollmer

    with the 2 rooks, probably Levoir and 1 of Wendell/Ohrnberger

    Gives the young OT a year or 2 to develop and if he takes Lights place before that then fine.

    Connolly gets the RG spot because Neal retires. (not because I don't want him back)
     
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