Despite already investing their first-round pick in an interior offensive lineman — picking Chattanooga’s Cole Strange at No. 29 overall — the New England Patriots went back to that position group in the sixth round. Selection No. 210 was used to bring LSU guard Chasen Hines aboard.
Why did the Patriots make that decision? Let’s look at some possible contributing factors.
Hines has some intriguing athletic traits
While Hines is not the same impressive athlete as new teammate Cole Strange, he does have some tools to work with in this area. His relative explosiveness at 6-foot-3, 327 pounds, for example is impressive: he posted very good 10- (1.74) and 20-yard (2.96) split times at the Scouting Combine and also looked good doing the broad (9’0”) and vertical jumps (30 1/2”).
His agility numbers were poor — he ran the three-cone drill in 8.46 seconds, for example — and he had only 20 reps on the bench, but Hines’ athletic foundation is worth working with. He probably needs some time, but his upside is apparent.
New England adds another body to its guard competition
Heading into the draft, the Patriots’ guard position was one of uncertainly. Michael Onwenu was locked into one of the starting spots, and Cole Strange will now fill the other.
Behind the two projected starters, however, there is plenty of space for a player to establish himself as the top interior backup. At the very least, Hines gives the team another option to fill that spot and to compete against the likes of James Ferentz, William Sherman, Arlington Hambright and Drew Desjarlais.
The key to using a “throw it on the wall and see what sticks” approach behind Onwenu and Strange is having multiple suitable options available. Hines is one of them, and he might just emerge as the winner of the competition if he can adapt quickly to life in New England’s system.
Experience boxes? Checked!
Even though he started only 17 games during his college career, Hines offers a lot of experience. He has experience playing multiple spots along the interior offensive line, has experience going against high-quality opposition in the SEC, and has the experience of competing in an NFL-like setting at the Senior Bowl.
Even if the Patriots throw him in at the deep end, Hines has shown that he knows how to swim. Add some solid athletic traits and a physical edge and you get a player that very much fits the profile New England is looking for in its draft picks along the offensive line.
How would you grade the Patriots’ selection of G Chasen Hines at No. 210?
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