Until the NFL and the players put aside their difference and realize how much the game means to fans, the players will be locked out and free agency is on hold. The draft will take place no matter what, but hopefully there is a new CBA before then. In the meantime, I’ll evaluate each position on the Patriots’ current roster and look at potential draft picks or free agents (should a new CBA be in place) that could be brought in to improve the position or add depth. Today’s position audit looks at the offensive line position. Check out the position audit for QB here, the position audit for RB here, the position audit for WR here, and the audit for TE here.
Current Players on the Roster:
- Tackle: Sebastian Vollmer, Nick Kaczur, Steve Maneri, Mark LeVoir
- Center: Dan Koppen
- Guard: Logan Mankins (franchised), Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Rich Ohrnberger, Thomas Austin
Possible Free Agent Pick-Ups:
- Tackle: Matt Light, Willie Colon, Ryan O’Callaghan, Jared Gaither
- Center: None
- Guard: Robert Gallery
Possible Draft Picks:
- Anthony Castonzo (BC), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Mike Pouncey (Florida), Derrick Sherrod (Mississippi State), Nate Solder (Colorado), Clint Boling (Georgia), Danny Watkins (Baylor)
There are more questions marks surrounding this position than perhaps any other position on the roster. There are many scenarios that still have to play out before the draft or free agency takes place. Logan Mankins was franchised, but that does not guarantee that he will remain with the team. If a new CBA is reached and there is no franchise tag, then the tag the Pats applied will mean nothing. There were rumors that the Patriots were going to release Nick Kaczur if he decided against taking a pay cut, but that has yet to take place.
On the free agent front, I anticipate Matt Light returning, but that is likely going to be it in terms of free agents unless Light does not return or the Pats lose Mankins. Belichick has stated in the past the he would have drafted Gallery first overall when he was in the draft. After faltering at tackle, Gallery has been able to resurrect his career as a guard, so he is a possibility. However, I think the Patriots will re-stock the position through the draft. The prospects I listed as possibilities are for the early rounds of the draft. After the early rounds, the Pats will likely draft some more offensive linemen with depth in mind, as they usually do. Who will be available is nearly impossible to predict. Castonzo, Carimi, Pouncey, and Sherrod are all first-round/first pick of the second round possibilities.