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New England Patriots 2018 roster breakdown: #60 OC David Andrews

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The team captain is the anchor of New England’s offensive line.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots currently have 90 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Today, the series continues with one of New England’s team captains.

Name: David Andrews

Position: Center

Jersey number: 60

Opening day age: 26

Experience: 3

Size: 6’3, 300 lbs.

2017 review: Coming off his first season as New England’s starting center – and his first Super Bowl win –, David Andrews and the Patriots agreed to a three-year, $9.0 million contract extension. A bargain for a player of Andrews’s caliber, the deal served as a confirmation that the team views the former undrafted rookie free agent as the anchor along its offensive line and a core member of the offense as a whole.

Andrews lived up to the trust in 2017. While he missed two games because of an illness, the first-time team captain was his usual reliable self when healthy: rarely leaving the field, he played 990 of 1,009 offensive snaps (98.1%) during 14 regular season games before adding 218 (of 221; 98.6%) during three postseason contests. On each one of his snaps, Andrews snapped the football and was also responsible for making blocking-calls.

Andrews was not only an integral part of the operation in terms of playing time, he also was a steady presence from a performance perspective. Being able to build on his solid 2016 season, he continued his growth as a blocker especially in the running game: the Georgia product became more consistent and displayed better core strength and a further improved technique when going up against bigger defensive linemen.

His growth as a run-blocker showed up on tape and also was illustrated on the stat sheet: while New England gained 3.80 yards per rushing attempt up the middle in 2016, this number improved to 4.31 last season. Andrews, who was ranked as the fourth best center in the NFL by advanced analytics website Pro Football Focus, played a big part in that – and in general helped the Patriots ground game become more productive.

Already a productive pass blocker, Andrews also became better in this area. Even though he still was responsible for 4.5 sacks over the course of his 17 games, he was able to limit the pressure Tom Brady suffered up the middle and gave up only two quarterback hits. Most importantly, as the offensive line’s leader, he played a key role in the unit’s turnaround after a sloppy start to 2017.

2018 preview: New England is heading towards the 2018 season with plenty of uncertainty, also along its offensive line (although it seems that the team has found a lineup with which it feels confident moving forward). One of the positions that is set in stone is Andrews’: the 26-year old will be back as the Patriots’ starting center and as a result again be among the team’s core players and its leaders in playing time.

In this role, he is projected to again be one of the NFL’s best young centers and a trustworthy presence playing in front of Tom Brady. Furthermore, Andrews will likely get voted team captain for a second year – further reflecting his standing on the roster as a leader and player around which to build. And as such, the center spot continues being in his hands in 2018 and beyond.