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The Offensive Line

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mgteich, Mar 8, 2009.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Should we be drafting because of short term needs, and the hope that our draftees will be major contributers in 2009? Or should we take a longer view. That being said, I am fine with our OL for 2009. I am looking to start building our 2010 and 2011 lines in a cost-effective manner.

    There is a need to develop 1-3 OL starters (depending on the CBA) for 2010 and four OL starters for 2011. I submit that it is in THIS draft that we need to start building this line.
    ==================================
    TACKLE

    LIGHT is signed through 2010.
    KACZUR is signed through 2009 although could be an RFA if there is no new CBA.
    Both O'CALLAHGAN and LEVOIR our backups are signed through 2009.

    How do you all view our future? We have an incredible opportunity to draft an OT in the 1st or early second. Should we take the opportunity? We also have such an opportunity in the late third or early fourth, but I would expect the quality to be much less.

    I must say that it must be tempting to secure a top LT to a 5-year contract.

    One alternative I suggested is to trade up with our 34 to 26 or so. This allows us to have both our LB or choice and a top OT.

    I believe that the draft is the cost-effective way to meet the need at this position.
    ====================================

    GUARD

    MANKINS is signed through 2009 although could be an RFA if there is not a new CBA.
    NEAL is signed through 2009.
    YATES is signed thrugh 2009
    HOCHSTEIN is signed through 2009

    There seems to be value in the second and the third. How important should we make this need, given the quality of the players available?

    The bottom line is that I don't expect us to extend Neal or Mankins, so we will need at least one starter next year, and two in 2011. Isn't it time to draft a player or two. I believe that the draft is the cost-effective way to meet the need at this position.
    ========================================
  2. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    I definitely agree that most fans, including myself, are not paying enough attention to OL in this draft. We need a contingency for Mankins who may command a Faneca-type deal in FA.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  3. Box_O_Rocks

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    Light, Koppen, Mankins, and Kaczur all took over starter jobs in their rookie years. O'Callaghan covered the first six games for Kaczur as a rookie.

    There is no urgency for drafting an OL in this draft. There is however, a great pool of talent in this draft class which may grade out better then players currently on roster. I doubt any will grade significantly better than any of the starters, but the reserves need to look to their jobs.

    If you wanted to prioritize draft targets...

    Rookie Starter - priority one - example: Mankins, Mayo
    Major Building Block - priority two - example: Seymour, Warren, Wilfork, Meriweather
    Minor Building Block - priority three - example: Koppen, Kaczur
    Project - priority four - example: Brady, Cassel

    Using that scale, I'd call OL a priority three in this draft.
  4. Box_O_Rocks

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    I'm not 100% sure if Mankins is a UFA or an RFA in an uncapped 2010? It will be his sixth season so I suspect he will be an RFA and can be tendered at 110% of his 2009 salary.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So, let us say that a new CBA is indeed signed. The situation is that seven of our eight guards and tackles are basically rent-a-players for this season.

    We used to think that continuity of the offensive line was important. Apparently now, we are willing to perhaps draft one rookie lineman in say the 3rd round, and expect that he and Light (in his contract year) and the new players will work well together and will be able to be a solid OL to protect Brady. You may indeed be correct in your analysis.

    BOTTOM LINE
    Do we really want to go into next year's off-season with six openings on the OL, including 2-3 starters?


  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Are you projecting that NE will be unable to re-sign any of the starters?

    Neal is a UFA, he was unable to find a better offer last time, he's older with more injury time, barring injury, he's coming back.

    Koppen and Light are signed.

    Kaczur and Mankins are the two we might realistically have some concern for, a segment will welcome Kaczur's departure, but the less visually challenged will be concerned.

    Turnover is inevitable, I expect BB will make a serious effort to maintain continuity, but he won't break the bank. Levoir will be able to fill in at RT. And, as noted, starters can be drafted and brought in as rookies.

    You and I are both in agreement that OL would be a good value in this draft, I just see no need to spend a Round One pick on an OL. A late Round Two for an interior OL to backstop Neal would be excellent, but there are some likely lads later on too. Picking up one of T.J. Lang, Sebastian Volmer, and Lydon Murtha in the mid-rounds should bring in a quality Swing Tackle candidate, Lang is also a good Guard prospect.

    I still don't see OL as an urgent need.
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Perhaps we are playing with words. Perhaps the need isn't "urgent".

    If we sign an OL in the late second and third, we will have two potential future starters, given the value in this draft. That will greatly stabilize the future of the OL. In the end, I am not sure that we would draft much differently.

    If we differ, it is with regard to the first choice. The question for me is whether there is a 5-year top quality OT available. For me, it is difficult to pass up such a value at 23.

  8. Box_O_Rocks

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    Whom do you believe will be available? Jason Smith? Eugene Monroe? Michael Oher? Andre Smith? William Beatty? Eben Britton? Jamon Meredith? Are you looking for a LT? RT? Swing Tackle? Which are which in your eyes? Are you drafting them to replace a current starter or as a reserve? Is your primary intent to upgrade over a current OT or do you just want insurance? Are you upgrading for pass protection or run blocking?
  9. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would agree. I think a potential pro-bowl LT at #23 would be difficult to pass up. Look how Tennessee did addressing both tackle positions in the notoriously "weak" draft class of 2005, setting themselves up for the next decade.

    Do you think Kaczur can move inside to guard? If so, he has tremendous value as a utility man and eventual replacement for Stephen Neal.
  10. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    I don't see OL as a big need either. The Pats have youngsters in the pipe and their starting OL is intact. I could see a 2nd or 3rd round pick used to draft one of the quality interior lineman available in this draft to back up and eventually replace Neal. But none of these guys will be expected or NEEDED to start on Day 1. Offensive line is a tertiary/backup need. Sorry, I just don't see a big need here.
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Above I have listed all the youngsters in the pike who have a chance of making the 53 man roster. Do you diagree with my assessment?

  12. Revman

    Revman Rookie

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    This is one of those yers that Pat's may just surprise everyone. I remember them taking Mankins in rd one- alot of people had no idea who he was. He was a college lt-friend- Pat Hill recommended him to Pat's. I believe that the line is in need of another infusion of youth and power to protect Brady.
    Alex Mack can play center or guard in the nfl from day one-and continue to replace Koppen or Neal. He would be value at 23-a little higher than the experts rate him. Last year Mayo climbed hard right up to draft-no one saw that coming-especially the move up to get him at 10. That worked out. This move makes sense even more if Peppers or J.Taylor come aboard.
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What happened to drafting for value?

    If have no intent other than not to pass on a top OT talent if he is there. If there are choices, then much more needs to be involved in the analysis. I welcome your comments.

    ALTERNATIVE ONE (probably highest value)
    I expect that an upgrade to Kaczur may be available, with Kaczur moving to swing OT, which is fine position for him. I am fine with him at this position long-term, if he can be extended. If this draftee is also a potential future alternative to Light (or Light insurance), so much the better. Also, Kaczur could move to RG next year instead of bieing a swing tackle.

    ALTERNATIVE TWO
    Perhaps an upgrade to Light is available with Light moving to RT.

    ALTERNATIVE THREE
    Perhaps we can allow the draftee to develop, allowing him a year as the swing tackle backup.

    So, all three would be valuable to the team, if the value is there. To me, an OT with a 5-year rookie contract at a #23 price is a great value. In the end, Dante can make mold the player where he can be of most value.

    As far as who I was thinking would be there, I was thinking Beaty, Britton and Meredith.

  14. Revman

    Revman Rookie

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    Keep an eye on Pat's acquiring Brian Walters-c/og -Chiefs. Haley and Pioli ruffled his feathers to the point of a trade demand last week. He would be a good addition to Pat's-would also re-prioritize some draft strategies. He is the on and off field leader for the community. A team player with experience to step right in and help along the line.
  15. BPF

    BPF Rookie

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    I can't see the Pats taking OL at 23 but I do see them taking one at some point in RD 2.
  16. Box_O_Rocks

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    I'm trying to see what value you think you see.

    So your first priority is to find an upgrade for Kaczur?

    Kaczur (pronounced KAY-zer) immediately took over left offensive tackle duties for the Rockets and started the next 49 games. He is a sound technician who can make all the blocks...He has been the most dominant player in the Mid-American Conference the last four years..Nick is an excellent pass protector and gets very good hand placement and extension...For a big man, Kaczur shows nimble feet on the move, doing a good job of making cut blocks in space. He has a great work ethic and takes well to hard coaching...Kaczur has more than enough balance to pull and lead on sweeps..He makes good adjustments down field and has the lateral agility to slide and redirect easily...Kaczur’s outstanding anchor prevents defenders from walking him back...He plays with a nasty attitude, but also knows how to stay under control...Few linemen in college can boast the technique, awareness and tireless work ethic that Nick displays.

    Britton - I don't see the upgrade here.

    Run Blocking: Britton is a solid walk-off drive blocker who might lack an explosive first step, but once he gets into gear, he moves with ease getting into the second level. He plays with natural strength, but will need to improve his power base and increase his bulk to withstand the rigors in the trenches as an NFL player...He is very good at sustaining and is developing a nice feel for blocking angles (still learning technique, but is responding quickly)...He is effective when asked to wall off and screen vs. down line-men, but will struggle to pick up the quick blitz...He brings power to his game when driving for movement and will generally finish, but can be walked back into the pocket when he overextends with his hands and lets the defender get into his chest.

    Pass Blocking: Still learning blocking schemes, but demonstrates enough foot quickness to slide, good knee bend, patience and a strong hand punch...He does have outstanding quickness off the snap to gain advantage, but has good balance and control in his kick-slide...Makes cut-off blocks, readjusting quickly to the edge rush. His balance in his pass set lets him mirror and contain bull rushers, but he needs to keep his hands inside the framework to prevent edge rushers from slipping off his blocks.

    Reactions/Awareness: Britton has the ability to shuffle and slide his feet, but due to a lack of explosiveness, he is a better fit on the right side. He is quick to recover when caught out of position and has the foot balance to short pull in the open, but must generate a quicker burst out of his stance to pick up the edge blitz or defensive line stunts. With his adequate lateral movement, he does not readily change direction when moving outside or out coming off the snap. He does keep his head on a swivel, showing good reactions and awareness on both running and passing plays. He has no problems handling movement in front of him or when working in-line, as his kick-slide allows him to adjust and stay in front of his man. Will have some issues when moving laterally. He has good speed and plays flat-footed, but must show better explosion and flexibility when changing direction. In pass protection, he has good reactionary ability to the bull rush, but would be even better if he can develop the loose hips and ability to move in attempts to impact on the defender. Will have problems handling movement at the next level.

    Beatty - I'm not seeing the upgrade here.

    Run Blocking: Shows a good thrust to get into space and is a decent position blocker. Uses his hands properly and can turn and drive off a defender on running plays. He is able to gain position quickly off the snap and use his body to wall when leading on outside runs. Due to a lack of bulk and ideal strength, he isn't used much blocking in-line, but is comfortable making adjustments in space. He uses his body well to turn and drive out a defender, but would be much better if he had the strong hand punch and placement to control.

    Pass Blocking: Beatty doesn't appear to have the natural strength to protect the quarterback's blind side (didn't come into play at Connecticut, as they utilized a left-handed passer). He can reach block when he stays low in his pads (struggles to adjust on the move when he gets too tall in his stance). Shows decent lower-body flexibility and proper knee bend to strike on the move and has the long arms to punch and separate (needs to improve his power and lacks grip strength). Able to match step-for-step with the athletic moves of a defensive end due to good knee bend (will waist bend when he gets high in his stance).

    Reactions/Awareness: Beatty was prone to penalties until his senior year. He was grabby, but also has some problems anticipating the snap cadence, leading to several false starts. Alert and made steady strides in 2008 adjusting to the action in front of him. He does a nice job of working in unison with his guards and might be a better fit at right tackle (more effective combo blocking than mauling an opponent). He has the long arms to engulf and the low pads to maintain balance mirroring rushers throughout the play.

    Meredith - And I see no upgrade here

    Run Blocking: Adequate drive blocker, but proved while playing guard that he does not have the sustained power to widen and maintain rush lanes. He is better in pass protection, preferring to park himself at the line of scrimmage and let the action come to him rather than explode off the snap to gain movement. He has the quick first step to get in position, but has to improve his lower-body power and maintain a better pad level. When he stays low in his pads, he flashes decent ability to wash defensive linemen on down blocks and widen the hole, but he is just marginal as a cut blocker.

    Pass Blocking: Has natural knee bend, large hands and long arms to keep defenders at bay. He is good to mirror when he faces up to the edge rusher, but he sometimes retreats so far back, speedy edge rushers are quick to slip underneath. He has good slide agility, but needs to be more active with his hands when trying to finish. He is not going to shock anyone with his marginal hand punch and until he improves his lower-body strength, he would be a liability with his anchor working in-line as a guard, as he showed in 2008 that he simply can't handle the powerful bull rushers. Has the ability to sink his hips, but that inconsistent hand punch and lock-out ability, along with his late recovery when retreating, get him caught out of position. If he can improve his leg strength to sit down and anchor, he would be able to handle left tackle duties, despite his light frame. Right now, he projects to right tackle.

    Reactions/Awareness: Very smart picking up games and twists up front. He mirrors his opponent when he does not retreat too far in his slide and when he keeps his feet shuffling. Is better reacting and adjusting to the defender's second move when he keeps his feet active. Has the vision and lateral quickness to pick up stunts and is not the type that will get fooled by the defender's multiple moves. Look for this player to be drafted much earlier based on his athletic skills than his production would indicate, but the "boom or bust" label applies.

    I'm not seeing that either.

    Now we're getting somewhere, but why not consider Augustus Parrish, T.J. Lang, Sebastian Vollmer, and Lydon Murtha Day Two?

    Both Mankins and Kaczur were considered "technicians" and "nasty." None of the three above are considered techicians, neither are they "nasty." Only Meredith is considered as a potential LT with some training and conditioning - and he gets the "boom or bust" remark. Oddly enough Parrish and Lang both have the "nasty" tag, and like Mankins and Kaczur, both are recommended for OG (Lang worked at all five OL positions for his All-Star game).

    Sorry Mark, these kids aren't the ones to outfight Light and Kaczur for starter's jobs, Levoir and O'C are actually good reserves, but with this class being so deep in OL, I'm not opposed to drafting Neal's back-up and another mid-round OT to work with...there are also a couple decent kids down near the undrafted demark.
  17. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Rookie

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    Firstly, wow, some of you guys are pretty smart.
    Secondly, personally, I'm all about ol in one of first 3 picks, if not one of our first 2.
    After that it's all defense for me I think. TE anyone? lol
    I've been thinking about the idea of moving Light to RT and drafting a stud LT.
    Too many sacks last year, and I'm not willing to put them ALL on Cassell.
    We have an elite QB, I want an elite LT watching his backside. Period.
    Light is good, but not elite.
    I'm not really into any developmental OL's this year, I'd rather have more defensive players in camp. Not to mention that Levoir looked good.
    Now, I say all this without any knowledge of the kids available in the draft.
  18. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    There is exactly one OT, Light, under contract for 2010. O'Callaghan may be RFA...I'm not 100% on how the uncapped year works.

    Threr is exactly one interior lineman, Koppen, under contract for 2010. Mankins, as well as some PS guys, will be RFAs.

    So right now, we have 3/5 of an offensive line projected for 2010

    Unless you feel good about guys like Connolly and Wendel starting a year from now, OL had better be higher than Priority Three in this draft, given the talent available. I think Beatty is looking better and better at #23, given whom I expect to be available.
  19. mayoclinic

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    If your #1 priority is to replace Kaczur at RT in 2009 then I agree with you. But if you look at the long term then I think Beatty offers tremendous value.

    Beatty is a pure LT prospect. He has unteachable footwork and agility. He needs to get a bit stronger and more physical, but that is teachable. His ceiling is a 10 year pro bowl LT. I disagree with your assessment that only Meredith is considered a potential LT - Beatty is as a pure LT prospect as there is in the draft.

    The most likely scenario is that Beatty would back up Light in 2009 while working on his conditioning and strength, but I suspect that by mid-late season he might merit considerable reps at left tackle. Light moving to RT would be an upgrade over Kaczur, and Kaczur could potentially move to RG as a backup long-term solution for Stephen Neal. With Kaczur able to play LT, RT and OG we would have tremendous depth and versatility compared to what we have now. In addition, with all of the OL contracts which expire after 2009 (Kaczur, Levoir, Mankins, Neal, Hochstein, Yates) he would give some long-term insurance. We would go into 2010 with Beatty and Light as our starting OTs set.
  20. Box_O_Rocks

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    Interesting challenge, eh? Question for you: Belichick and Pioli & Co. negotiated these contracts that have Neal, Mankins, and Kaczur all reaching a contract year in 2009, do we suppose they had something in mind when planning this? Note how Seymour, Green, and Wilfork all come due in at the end of this season too. That's not a coincidence. We could argue about whether each of their agents was looking ahead to an uncapped season, but the common participant in each negotiation was NE's Front Office - there is a plan.

    So, there's a plan. Do you honestly expect their answer was the draft? My crystal ball doesn't work that way and I doubt they have a better one - so they had a plan with answers that did not rely on the draft class being so deep. I expect them to take advantage of this pool of picks and this deep OL draft class, but I'm not replacing three starters in this draft.

    Let's look at this another way: does NE hold the right to any OT capable of starting in the absence of Light or Kaczur? Yup, LeVoir, in an uncapped league he's ERFA/RFA for a while. NE loses Kaczur after 2009, LeVoir gets his job. That's 3/5s of the OL covered for 2010. What have you and I been doing all these weeks talking about wanting Eric Wood? Ochmed talking about Max Unger? We are looking to this draft for one OL capable of starting at all three interior OL slots. I don't recall that any of us wanted them to replace one of the three, but we each are talking about improving the depth at the position because 2009 is a contract year for 2 of 3, and Neal's injury history demands a stronger insurance plan then the one Yates provided last Fall. There's one second round draft pick joining LeVoir as a solid plan in the event of OL meltdown. 4/5s covered through 2010 - that gives you the 2010 and 2011 drafts to plug holes at starter and reserve - what me worry?

    Now, those who wish to replace Kaczur because they dislike him...by all means, play the draft that way - my money is on Nick.
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