New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick remarked, when talking about Nick McDonald’s unique ability to play all five positions on the offensive line, that standout left guard Logan Mankins could do the same.
“I’m sure [Logan] Mankins could play anywhere on the line,” Belichick said.
I completely agree with that statement, because Logan Mankins is a different type of guard who is extremely proficient in pass protection. He is one of the best pass blocking guards in the NFL, and he is also an incredible run blocker. Last season was disappointing by his lofty standards, but he did pretty well overall. And, of course, he played through the playoffs with an ACL tear and didn’t miss a beat until a poor Super Bowl performance (he even admitted that he felt at his worst in that game, so we’ll give him a pass due to that injury).
So Mankins is tough, he is one of the most fierce run blockers in the NFL, and he pass blocks well. He can play both guard positions as well as anybody in this league, and he is right up there with Carl Nicks in the discussion for best guard in the NFL.
At center, Mankins would be a fit as well. There isn’t a large difference between playing center or guard, but there is certainly a difference overall. You have to be a leader and a “glue guy” to play center and recognize blitzes and get the line organized pre-snap. Mankins is an intelligent veteran and a leader for the Patriots, so there is no doubt that he fits the bill as a center.
Things get more complicated when looking at how his play would translate at both tackle positions, but I’m certain that Logan Mankins could be at least a serviceable right tackle- and most likely successful. RTs are expected to be good run blockers playing on the strong-side of the line, and Mankins is a mauling LG who certainly fits that description.
There is a certain type of agility and pass blocking ability required to play the tackle position, and it would definitely take a lot of transitioning for Mankins to get that down. But we’re talking about if he could feasibly play at that spot, and I think he could play at right tackle. Mankins would have to do different things as a tackle- less pulling, more mauling- but he can succeed on the primarily run-blocking right side while also being a serviceable pass blocker.
Left tackle would be the trickiest position for Mankins to play, especially against the quick weak-side pass rushers that the NFL has to offer. Playing against a 3-4 OLB wouldn’t be an ideal match-up for him, or an explosive 4-3 DE like in-conference superstar Cameron Wake. He could hold up, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Mankins is intelligent enough to recognize blitz packages and would be a dynamic run blocker at left tackle. He can hold up on the blindside, but he might only be mediocre there.
That’s fine if the worst he is at a position is mediocre, and Logan Mankins does have the ability to play all five positions. He is a great all-around guard who is one of the best guards in the NFL and could feasibly be one of the best centers in the league as well. Things get murkier at the tackle positions, but I could honestly see Mankins being an above-average right tackle with enough talent to at least hold up at left tackle.
What do you guys think? Have your say in the comments section and let’s get some good old-fashioned NFL speculation going.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.