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Patriots' Prospects Week in Review: Interior Linemen


5. Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova

4. Rodney Hudson, Florida State

3. Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State

2. Danny Watkins, Baylor

1. Mike Pouncey, Florida

After reviewing these players, my clear-cut favorite is Danny Watkins. He fits the Patriots' offensive line in every possible way and presents solid value at the end of the first or start of the second round. Mike Pouncey's value is inflated as a result of his brother's NFL success, or else he might be a solid pick at the same area as Watkins. Stefen Wisniewski has dropped in value due to his soft style of player, which does not fit the Patriots' line. Rodney Hudson has potential, but his small size might prevent him from becoming one of the league's elite guards. Benjamin Ijalana is a solid fit at the end of the second round, but some teams might like him enough to make him a top 40 pick, which is too expensive to be a match with the Patriots.

Let's look at some additional interior linemen after the jump!

Will Rackley, Lehigh - Rackley has flown up the draft boards after showing that his small school success translated against NFL caliber players. He has sound technique and a solid frame. [2nd-3rd round]

Clint Boling, Georgia - Boling is a versatile former tackle who is expected to move to the interior at guard. He's a smart player with a skill set that matches a guard, but he wants to prove that he can stay at tackle at the next level. [2nd-3rd round]

John Moffitt, Wisconsin - Moffitt is a road grader at guard who is one of the best run blocking guards in the draft. He needs to show that he can be just as phenomenal against the pass, but he's good enough for now to warrant a long look. [3rd round]

Stephen Schilling, Michigan - Schilling has a perfect guard skill set and has plenty of production to know that he has a shot in the NFL. He can block for both the pass and the run and he's a savvy player. Might be better fit for RG. [3rd-4th round]

Kristofer O'Dowd, USC - O'Dowd has plenty of experience, but has a long injury history. If he can get over his injuries (large red flag), then he has a chance to succeed at the next level because he has the capabilities to be a successful center. [4th round]

Tim Barnes, Missouri - Barnes is a little on the small side, but he is able to be a strong run blocker. However, he needs a lot of work with his technique since he's not as strong of a pass blocker. [5th-6th round]

Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock - Fusco is another small school prospect, but he has the potential to succeed in the NFL. He has plenty of experience and he was a force against weaker talent. Project player who could benefit from sitting behind Dan Koppen for a couple seasons. [5th-6th round]

Zane Taylor, Utah - Taylor is an experienced player with plenty of football intelligence. He needs to get a long stronger to succeed in the NFL, but he is another solid project prospect. [6th round]


It seems as if the Patriots could get great value at guard in the 3rd or 4th round with Moffitt or Schilling, but I would prefer Watkins over those two players. Looking at centers, I think Fusco and Taylor make the most sense as low risk prospects who have the potential to succeed if they're given time. Letting those two sit behind Koppen for a couple seasons could prepare them to be the long term pivot players on the offensive line. If I had to choose (without trading picks), I'd go with Watkins at 33 and Fusco in the 5th round.