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Interior Offensive Line Options

Patriots may have a new look to the interior in 2015
Patriots may have a new look to the interior in 2015
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have two established IOL starters in Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell. Stork is a mainstay at center, but I do think Wendell could be upgraded from with the right guy. Both players were critical in stabilizing the offensive line last season. The Patriots could consider OTs Marcus Cannon or Cameron Fleming for the right guard position, but neither player has stepped up when put in the spot. There is also Josh Kline, a serviceable backup who gets a bad label because he gets destroyed by the games' best defensive tackles.

So now what do the Patriots do to address the position? They can bring back Dan Connolly on a 1-year vet min deal with incentives, but that likely doesn't change their draft strategy. Wendell is also a free agent after the season, but I think he's also very likely to get a 2-year extension similar to the one he got last off-season. You can make the case that the Patriots should double dip at the position with future uncertainty looming at both guard spots. If the Patriots double dip at a position, historically the Patriots have used an early and mid round pick. Most cases it's a 2nd and a 4th.

So what are the options in the 2nd round? They are Kansas State's BJ Finney, Duke's Laken Tomlinson, Penn State's Donovan Smith, Colorado State's Ty Sambraillo, and Hobart's Ali Marpet. Marpet and Smith played left tackle at the collegiate level, Finney played center, and Tomlinson played right guard. From this group, my favorites are Marpet and Sambraillo because of their athleticism and versatility. Marpet is a low floor/high ceiling guy and Sambraillo is a plug and play guy at either guard spot and right tackle.  Only Marpet projects to be a left guard, a position the Patriots lack a starter and quality depth. However, I see it as unlikely the Patriots will spend a 2nd round pick on an interior offensive lineman because historically (Logan Mankins the exception to the rule) they've been the 4th round or later for their interior offensive line picks. Even with the long wait, the Patriots have still been able to develop quality starters inside. So realistically, the interior offensive line pick likely won't be until the 97th pick of the draft at the earliest.

From there, the Patriots still have solid options inside. There's Boston College Center Andy Gallik, Florida Center Max Garcia, Missouri Tackle Mitch Morse, and West Virginia Tackle Mark Glowinski. Morse and Glowinski both tested very well at the combine, but are very raw and would likely be a weekly inactive in Year 1 barring some surprise. Gallik and Garcia are more than capable of being a plug and play starter, although I like Gallik more because he's a better technician and better athlete than Garcia. The Patriots hold three picks from 96 to 101, so it's still conceivable the Patriots could double dip IOL with a center and a tackle. We will also probably see Belichick add another rookie free agent guard or two to the mix when camp starts. The Patriots only need to find one starter for 2015, but may need to find two for 2016 in this draft.