Late in the sixth round, the cross-section of Patriots behemoths who consider themselves interior offensive linemen got a bit more crowded.
With the No. 221 overall pick, the Patriots selected Illinois guard Ted Karras, a 6-foot-4, 308-pound four-year starter who was quietly one of the best pass-blocking guards in the country over the last two seasons. According to Pro Football Focus, in 903 pass blocking attempts in 2014 and 2015, he allowed just 17 pressures.
With a pro-ready frame and impressive strength (32 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at his pro day), Karras cuts an imposing image. He comes from good bloodlines as well: He's the seventh member of his family to play in the Big Ten, and his great uncle is the late Alex Karras, who was named to four Pro Bowls during his NFL career.
The question is now, where will Karras fit? The Patriots are loaded on the interior of the offensive line, and loaded with relatively young talent. The players in the mix for playing time at guard in 2016 include Josh Kline, Shaq Mason, Tre' Jackson, Jonathan Cooper and third-round selection Joe Thuney. Center Bryan Stork has seen time at guard in emergency situations, and center David Andrews will vie for a role this spring and summer as well.
The Patriots offensive line was decimated by injuries late last year, and in a press conference at the end of the draft Bill Belichick admitted that having a measure of depth -- even if it seems like an overload at first glance -- could be beneficial.