Former Ohio State Buckeyes standout right tackle Reid Fragel is finally starting to make some noise and is a sleeper in the 2013 NFL Draft. According to draft analyst Tony Pauline, the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and Cincinnati Bengals are all set to host Fragel on pre-draft visits. Pauline calls Fragel “possibly the most underrated RT” in his year’s draft class.
Fragel seems to be an unknown to most fans, but those who know him know that he has the ability to be a solid starting right tackle at the pro level. All of the teams interested in him could use a tackle, and the Giants, Dolphins, and Lions seem to be the best three fits for him. D.J. Fluker of Alabama has been frequently mocked to the Giants, and they would like to go younger on the offensive line and add a right tackle. The Dolphins lost Jake Long and are set to move Jonathan Martin to left tackle in his second seasons, while the Lions lost the talented but inconsistent RT Gosder Cherilus to the Indianapolis Colts in this free agent period.
The New England Patriots seem to be looking hard at the right tackle position, because it was reported earlier today that they would host Fluker on a pre-draft visit. I’ve always thought the Pats would show interest in another tackle for depth, but it seems like they don’t need to go that direction. They did re-sign Sebastian Vollmer to a four-year deal, signed former Atlanta Falcons quality backup Will Svitek, and they are reportedly high on third-year right tackle Marcus Cannon. However, it also sounds like the Patriots are set to move Cannon to guard, and I’ll have a piece up on that later.
For the Patriots, the best move to make if they want a tackle is to draft a guy later on in the draft like Reid Fragel where there is talent and a good value. Drafting Fluker in the late first would make little sense for the Patriots, and he probably won’t last until there. Even if he does, the Pats are still better off going elsewhere in the first (like wide receiver or cornerback).
Fragel is an incredibly aggressive right tackle who excels in run blocking, he has great athleticism and size, but he has significant strength issues that cause him to struggle against bull rushers who can overpower him in pass protection.
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