New England Patriots Links 6/30/10 - Training Camp Countdown Officially Begins

Will this man "bloat" now that he got paid?

Jeff Howe expects Sebastian Vollmer to lift the Patriots Offensive Line in 2010.

Vollmer, who was wildly impressive as a rookie, projects to be the Patriots' best offensive lineman in 2010, and that would, in theory, make him the best fit as the team's left tackle. However, Belichick seems to loathe the idea of putting Light on the right side, citing Light's failure over there earlier in his career. Since Light is better on left than either Kaczur or LeVoir are on the right, Light will anchor Tom Brady's blind side and Vollmer will likely hold down the right.

Another intriguing combination would put Vollmer at left tackle, Connolly at left guard and Kaczur at right tackle. But again, that keeps Light on the bench, and that doesn’t really appease Belichick.

At the very least, the Patriots are extremely versatile, with Vollmer, Connolly and Kaczur being able to fill multiple positions. New England would still be strong in the trenches if it lost a key member of its line because there are so many suitable combinations. Heading into the season, look for Light, Kaczur, Koppen, Neal and Vollmer to start from left to right, as that is Belichick's most ideal combination on the offensive line.

Paul Perillo answers a reader's question from his weekly reader mailbag:

I was wondering if you see the Patriots going out there and grabbing a veteran pass rusher before the end of training camp such as Bobby McCray, Greg Ellis, etc.?
Jacob Plante

The Patriots almost always remain active in terms of acquiring players well into the summer so I could definitely see Belichick looking into the possibility of picking up a veteran or two. Certainly bolstering the pass rush would be an area to look at in this regard. I think Belichick probably wants to look at some of his younger options (Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Shawn Crable) before he decides to pull the trigger on such a move though. Once the team is on the field and working out he may decide he needs more at that spot – or somewhere else – and he’ll look for help. That’s when he picked up Derrick Burgess last year, and I’d be willing to take a shot at either of the guys you mentioned with Ellis being my preference based on his 3-4 experience.

Mike Reiss explains the Supplemental Draft.

This year's supplemental draft is scheduled for July 15 and it involves players who did not declare for April's draft whose situations have changed since then. Teams submit a bid as to what round they'd be willing to select the player, and the team with the highest bid is awarded the prospect, with that team giving up the corresponding pick in next April's draft. The supplemental draft goes seven rounds and if the players aren't selected, they become free agents. The Patriots have not been awarded a player in the supplemental draft in Bill Belichick's tenure (2000 to present), although they did claim a supplemental draft prospect on waivers who never emerged (Nebraska offensive lineman Chris Patrick, 2007).

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