Current Situation: Things are fluid on the line front for the Pats offense. The projected starters are Wynn, Thuney, Andrews, Mason, and Cannon, but a Thuney trade is possible, Andrews may or may not be back due to blood clot issues, Isaiah Wynn is made of glass, and Marcus Cannon isn’t getting any younger and could be a potential cut candidate. However, if everyone stays healthy, this could be one of the top lines in the entire league. Yodny Cajuste, a third-round pick last year, will be back this year and could provide solid depth, and even push Cannon for a starting spot. Same goes for Hjalte Froholdt, a 4th round interior lineman who had his season cut short in the preseason
Level of Need: Moderate
SHS Take: The Patriots are definitely going to take one or two linemen in the draft, it’s just a matter of when. If they see a can’t miss talent in the first round they’ll take it, regardless of the fact that it’s lower on the needs list. They could use a center for Andrews insurance, and a guard to replace Thuney if he is dealt.
Early Round Fits
Cesar Ruiz – Center, Junior, Michigan, 6’3″ 307 lbs
Your prototype modern NFL center, Ruiz combines power and quickness to create holes and protect the quarterback. The Michigan man is fast enough to pull on runs and pass protection and has quick hand movement to get under defenders’ pads. His size and skill set will also allow him to play guard if necessary. Ruiz has the ability to start from day one and be a team’s starting center for years to come.
Projection: Late 1st to Late 2nd
NFL Comparison: Max Unger
Josh Jones – Tackle, Red Shirt Senior, Houston, 6’5″, 319 lbs
A tantalizing prospect with excellent size and length, Jones looks like an NFL ready tackle. He is an excellent run blocker at the point of attack, and while his pass blocking isn’t quite at the level you’d hope, the traits and measurables are there to work with. Jones played on the left side at Houston, but his run blocking prowess would likely have him start on the right on most teams. The Richmond, Texas native met with the Patriots at the combine.
Projection: Early 2nd to Late 2nd
NFL Comparison: Marcus Cannon
Mid Round Fits
Yasir Durant – Tackle, Senior, Missouri, 6’6″, 331 lbs
Durant is a monster at a whopping 331 lbs and can be an immovable force while pass blocking. Durant’s strengths certainly lie with his pass blocking prowess, but his size offers great potential as a bulldozer in the running game. His size and length project more as a right tackle than left, but in the modern NFL, the right side bookend is becoming more and more important. Durant is raw and will require some seasoning in all phases of his game, however, he has tremendous upside, and should not be passed over.
Projection: Early 3rd to Mid 4th
NFL Comparison: Demar Dotson
Ben Bredson – Guard, Senior, Michigan, 6’5″, 315 lbs
Another Michigan man, Bredson is simply an all-around quality football player. He won’t wow you with spectacular quickness or reach, but he does his job and does it well. He’s a tough payer who started all for years for the Wolverines and hasn’t missed one in the past three years. He isn’t the most athletics specimen, but he makes up for it with excellent power and punch in the run and pass game.
Projection: Mid 3rd to Late 4th
NFL Comparison: Ted Karras
Late Round Fits
Jake Hanson – Center, Oregon, Redshirt Senior, 6’4″, 304 lbs
Hanson was a four-year starter at Oregon as Justin Herbert’s pivot man. He was extremely durable and plays with a bit of nastiness you love to see from the boys in the trenches. Hanson has experience playing in a zone running game at Oregon, so it will take some adjusting to play in a pulling type scheme, but he flashes starter-level potential.
Projection: Late 4th to Early 6th
NFL Comparison: Dan Koppen
Alex Taylor – Tackle, Red Shirt Senior, South Carolina State, 6’8″, 308 lbs
Taylor is a genetic freak, standing at 6’8″ with incredible athleticism. The mammoth of a man is a raw prospect who will take a year or two to develop, but the upside is tremendous. He was a former basketball star who transitioned to football late in high school and started just two years at right tackle in college. Taylor would likely see a lot of healthy scratches in his first year if the Pats brought him in, but as a developmental tackle, you could do a lot worse.
NFL Comparison: Trent Brown
*All stats and measurements via NFL.com and Walter Football