Prototypical Patriots: Planning for future at interior of offensive line?
One of the strengths of the Patriots roster is the talent and experience levels of their interior offensive linemen. David Andrews, Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason have played a lot of football together, and they were among the primary reasons the team was able to shift to a ground-and-pound offense late last season en route to a Super Bowl.
But how much longer will they be a trio? Thuney is set to hit free agency in 2020 and the Patriots just handed Mason an extension. Would they pay to keep both? And if Thuney goes, would the team plop Isaiah Wynn in his spot or would they draft a successor?
If they want to draft an interior lineman this year, here are a few names at that spot that meet the size (6-foot-3, about 300 pounds) and athletic (low 5.0-second 40, 7.5ish three-cone, 28ish inches in the vertical, at least 95 inches in the broad) standards the Patriots have typically sought in Day 1, 2 or early Day 3 selections.
GARRETT BRADBURY, NC STATE, 6-3, 306 POUNDS
Maybe it should come as no surprise that the perfect guard/center prospect in this year's draft class is coming from a pro-style offense that also produced Joe Thuney.
Bradbury checks every box for the Patriots physically between his size and athletic testing (4.92-second 40, 31-inch vert, 104-inch broad, 7.41-second three-cone, 4.53 short shuttle). He was named the nation's top center last season and was honored as a first-team AP All-American. Is he likely to land with the Patriots? No. But if he slid, they might be tempted to take him.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: C Garrett Bradbury, NC State
CHRIS LINDSTROM, BOSTON COLLEGE, 6-4, 308 POUNDS
Dante Scarnecchia spent an inordinate amount of time with Lindstrom at BC's pro day, and it's easy to see why. He's smart, he has good size, and his movement skills are excellent. In a scheme like New England's, where the guards are asked to pull and make plays in space, Lindstrom fits perfectly.
The only testing number that fell just below what the Patriots typically draft in the early rounds was his three-cone (7.61 seconds), but it wasn't off by much. His 30.5-inch vertical, 117-inch broad jump and 4.92-second 40 all indicate Lindstrom is an extremely explosive player.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: G Chris Lindstrom, BC
ERIK McCOY, TEXAS A&M, 6-4, 303 POUNDS
McCoy is considered to be one of the top guards in this year's class and one of the top athletes playing guard in this year's class. His 4.90 40-yard dash was the fastest of any interior offensive lineman, and his 31-inch vert and 107-inch broad all put him squarely in the mix to qualify for work under Scarnecchia, who wants his players to be "athletic enough." Check and check. One small concern? His 8.28-second three-cone time was atrocious.
ELGTON JENKINS, MISSISSIPPI STATE, 6-4, 310 POUNDS
Jenkins had a less-than-desirable three-cone by Patriots standards (7.77 seconds), and he didn't run a 40. But otherwise he looks like their type of player. He's solidly built, explosive (109-inch broad), and he was extremely stout in pass protection. On 369 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just five pressures.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: OL Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi St
SHAQ CALHOUN, MISSISSIPPI STATE, 6-3, 310 POUNDS
Between all the size and athletic-testing parameters we've studied, Calhoun is the only other player aside from Bradbury who meets every mark. It's a little odd since Calhoun is projected to be a late Day 3 pick while Bradbury is projected to go in Round 1, and it's a little odd that Calhoun's athleticism hasn't generated more buzz.
But between what he brings to the table in terms of measurables, his 36 starts in the SEC, and a motor that reportedly runs hot, don't be shocked if New England calls his name late.
HJALTE FROHOLDT, ARKANSAS, 6-5, 306 POUNDS
Could the Patriots dip into the Arkansas pipeline yet again? They've shown more interest in Arkansas defensive linemen of late, but Froholdt makes plenty of sense as a mid-round option.
His vertical (27.5 inches) is just a tad shy of the mark hit by Thuney in 2016, but otherwise, Froholdt is athletic enough to work in New England. He has experience at both center and guard, which could make him worth a draft pick for the Patriots.
PHIL HAYNES, WAKE FOREST, 6-4, 322 POUNDS
Haynes might not be the fleetest of foot when it comes to agility drills (7.76-second three-cone, 4.95-second short shuttle), but those numbers aren't atrocious. Plus, his jumps were extremely strong at the combine (31-inch vert, 108-inch broad), and his 5.20-second 40 was adequate.
Per PFF, he's not to be messed with in the run game, as he accumulated a run-block success percentage of 93.7, which was fourth in the draft class.
IOSUA OPETA, WEBER STATE, 6-4, 301 POUNDS
Can power make up for a lack of quickness? Opeta's three-cone (8.06 seconds) and short-shuttle (4.94) were nothing to write home about. His 39 bench reps of 225 pounds? Most of any offensive lineman at the combine? Different story.
His 33-inch vertical and 112-inch broad were also very impressive and show he has the explosiveness to handle duties on the interior at the next level if given a shot as a Day 3 pick (or as an undrafted free agent).
RYAN BATES, PENN STATE, 6-5, 306 POUNDS
In terms of height, weight and explosiveness, Bates and Froholdt are nearly carbon copies. (Froholdt's vertical was a half-inch better at the combine.) He played both tackle spots for the Nittany Lions, but with arms that measured on the shorter side (32.5 inches), he's projected to play guard.