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New England Patriots Links 7/02/10 - Ochocinco Lobs The First Twitter Bomb at Bodden

<em>Rookie OL Thomas Welch impressed Belichick and Scarneccia with his toughness and versatility</em>.
Rookie OL Thomas Welch impressed Belichick and Scarneccia with his toughness and versatility.

Paul Perillo profiles 7th-round draft pick, rookie OL Thomas Welch.

Despite his inexperience and limited size (at the time) Welch displayed great quickness and technique, particularly for a player new to the position. He immediately showed the ability to use his hands well and worked at both right and left tackle during his career. A severe ankle injury hampered him throughout his senior season, a problem that [Brentwood coach Ron]Caldwell believes affected his draft status.

"We talked to some Patriots scouts, Tim Heffelfinger was here to work with him and they were very inquisitive about him," Caldwell said. "Thomas was destined to be a higher pick had he stayed healthy. He hurt his ankle and kept trying to play — he’d go 15-20 plays a game and then the thing would go on him. Coach Belichick came down and worked out our corner and liked Thomas. He’s got a special quality about him. This year against LSU he did extremely well against their great front and he told me it was the most fun he ever had playing football."

Welch’s toughness no doubt endeared him to the Patriots staff. His flexibility also earned him some points and eventually New England took him at the top of the seventh round (No. 208 overall). He played the 2008 season at right tackle before moving to the left side last year. Not only did Welch insist on playing each Saturday but he also refused to sit out practice. He typically went as long as he could and only when the pain became unbearable would he go to the bench.

"His best football is ahead of him," Caldwell said. "I had him about two full years on the offensive line. His body is still getting accustomed to carrying that weight around. Thomas is a tremendous person and he’ll be a pillar in your community."

Andy Hart explores what the rookie seasons of the new 'Dynamic Duo' (or is it H-Bomb and G-Force?) could look like, comparing Hernandez and Gronkowski to previous TEs and their rookie seasons for the Patriots.

My gut tells me that the pair will complement each other well from Day 1. That they’ll contribute and be counted on as rookies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them combine for somewhere in the range of 60 catches with seven or so touchdowns.

Based on this little research project, looking for The Duo (good name for the movie, no?) to be a key part of the offense in 2010 might be a bit optimistic on my part. But the summer time period leading into training camp is all about optimism.