The Patriots elected to go for offensive line depth in Round 6 and drafted NC State C Ted Larsen with their compensatory pick. Larsen is more of a long-term project because he spent his first 3 years in college playing on the defensive line and only the last 2 years playing center. He has some issues recognizing blitzes but is an athletic center, which made him attractive to the Pats because they often pull their linemen out in screens. Here’s NFL.com’s scouting report:
“Larsen was a three-year defensive lineman who moved to center for his final two years at State. He is a good athlete for the position with initial quickness and above-average lateral range in pass pro. He needs work on leveraging his blocks in spite of having natural leverage angles due to his size and still needs to improve his instincts when it comes to picking up stunts and twists up front. A lot of his issues can be improved with time at the position, and he should provide a team with a good backup for a year or two as he develops his instincts and techniques.”
As I typed this, the Pats traded up in Round 7 with Washington to select another offensive lineman, Vanderbilt OT Thomas Welch. The Pats traded two of their 7th round picks (229 and 231) to move up to 208. Welch is a converted TE that played both right and left tackle at Vanderbilt. He’s a big guy to at 6’6″, 307. Again, here’s NFL.com’s scouting report:
“Welch is a fifth-year senior who came to Vanderbilt as a tight end but was moved to the offensive line before the 2007 season and became a starter at right tackle during the 2008 season. He moved to the left side for his senior year and put together a nice final season. He is an adequate athlete for the position but lacks the kind of initial quickness, agility and lateral range to play on the left side at the next level. He is still learning the nuances of the offensive line and will need a few seasons, probably as a practice-squad member, to get it all figured out. He is not a natural knee-bender and tends to lunge out after blocks and generally goes to the ground too often. He struggles when trying to mirror better edge rushers at this level and will need to move back to the right side if he has any chance to make it in the NFL. When things go according to plan, he appears comfortable and confident, but when faced with something he hasn’t seen in practice, he can look lost.”
The Patriots still have three 7th round picks (247, 248, and 250). These picks are compensatory picks and cannot be traded. The plan here will be to wrap those three selections into one post.