When the Patriots practiced with and then played the Falcons last week, the experience yielded more than another look into the team’s strengths and weaknesses. The time the teams spent together also yielded some time to look at other players up-close, and Bill Belichick apparently liked what he saw in offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka. The Pats have traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Atlanta Falcons for the 5-year veteran to provide depth at the guard position. Ojinnaka can also play the tackles position, so the trade yields depth at two positions on the offensive line. The Patriots’ depth in the interior line has taken a hit this offseason with Pro Bowler Logan Mankins holding out and Nick Kaczur, expected to be Mankins’ replacement, out indefinitely with a back injury.
Ojinnaka has appeared in 39 games and has started 12, so he does have starting experience. In New England he will likely not be expected to start but provide depth. Dan Connolly has done a nice job stepping in and starting but the back-up linemen have struggled throughout 2 preseason games thus far. I’m not sure what to expect from Ojinnaka as I’m unfamiliar with his game play. He could earn a spot on the team as a top back-up or could get cut. What we do know is the team did improve its depth and competition at the guard position.