Today, the New England Patriots began the second phase of their offseason workout program, meaning that for the first time since the end of the 2015 season, players and coaches were allowed to work together. Today was also the first day that local media members spoke to the Patriots' assistant coaches.
The two most popular coaches to talk to were the new safeties coach, Bill Belichick's son Steve, as well as returning offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. The 68-year old, who originally retired after the 2013 season, spoke mostly about his return to the Patriots' sidelines. However, he offered more interesting insight – especially on one of New England's draft picks.
Scarnecchia was asked about offensive lineman Joe Thuney, whom the team selected in the third round of last week's draft. The North Carolina State-product played as both guard and tackle for the Wolfpack and naturally entered the NFL with questions about where he would ultimately line up.
Pats OLine Coach Dante Scarnecchia said that 3rd round Joe Thuney is an inside player for the Pats who could play outside in a pinch
Scarnecchia said they drafted Joe Thuney to play inside: "He's going to be an inside player unless disaster hits"
The 6'5, 295 lbs lineman was one of the best pass protectors entering the draft, capable of offering quality play at both tackle and guard. Apparently, the team, which also worked Thuney out at center, views the interior offensive line as his best fit. This also means that only one year after drafting two interior linemen, Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason, the Patriots have now invested another pick on the interior line.
Of the three, only Thuney can be considered a roster-lock. Behind him, Jackson and Mason will fight against Josh Kline, Jonathan Cooper, Chris Barker and fellow 2016 draft pick Ted Karras for a roster spot and playing time. The other two members of the Patriots' interior line, centers Bryan Stork and David Andrews may also have to fight for their roster lives this summer.