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Patriots Roster Prediction #35: G/C Dan Connolly

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Player Name: G/C Dan Connolly

Experience: 5 Years in the NFL, 3 with the New England Patriots

Past Role: Connolly was a practice squad regular in his first two seasons with the Patriots. After right guard Stephen Neal went down with an injury in 2009, offensive line coach Dante Scarneccia waved his magic wand and Connolly became a solid starter. Connolly performed well enough on the right side to receive a contract extension though the 2011 season. Connolly was a great interior lineman, stepping in for Dan Koppen at center for a couple snaps, as well as helping Neal.

Predicted Role: Connolly should keep his spot as top interior line back-up this season. Neal should go down with an injury for a few games, as usual, and Connolly should step into his spot. Connolly will be able to come onto the field and give breaks to "old men" Koppen and Neal, should they need rests.

Predicted Season Numbers: 3 Games Started, 12 Games Played. 2 Sacks Given Up, 2 QB Hit, 4 QB Pressures

Predicted Depth Chart: #3 LG, #2 RG, #2 C

Summary: Connolly made enough of an impact last season to be thought highly of, entering the 2010 season. He'll be a great back-up and could provide solid starting time, if called upon. With the uncertainty of Logan Mankins, look for Connolly to get some first team reps, but expect Nick Kaczur to be the top back-up for the left guard position.