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Patriots 2022 roster breakdown: Andrew Stueber needs to get on the field quickly

Related: Patriots roster breakdown: New England needs Ronnie Perkins to step up

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the offseason workout program in the rear-view mirror and training camp set to kick off later this month, the New England Patriots are fully “on to 2022.”

The team currently has 86 players under contract, but only 53 of them will be able to survive roster cutdowns in early September and ultimately make the active team. Over the course of spring and summer, just like we have in years past, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots build on their 10-7 record.

Today, the series continues with rookie offensive lineman Andrew Stueber.

Hard facts

Name: Andrew Stueber

Position: Offensive tackle/Guard

Jersey number: TBD (Offseason No. 69)

Opening day age: 23

Size: 6-foot-7, 325 pounds

Contract status: Under contract through 2025 (2026 UFA)


What is his experience? Stueber entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick by the Patriots earlier this offseason, getting selected 245th overall. Naturally, this means that his experience at the pro level is quite limited. That is especially true given that he was a no-show during those organized team activities open to the media as well as mandatory minicamp. But while he has yet to even take the practice fields since leaving college, he did arrive in New England with plenty of college football on his résumé.

Committing to the University of Michigan — the school he grew up rooting for — Stueber saw only minimal action in his first three years in Ann Arbor, including a redshirt season due to a torn ACL in 2019. By his 2020 junior campaign, however, he had established himself as a starter along the team’s offensive line. Stueber went on to start 20 games over his final two collegiate seasons. In total, he appeared in 34 games as a Wolverine, with 22 of them as a starter at either the right tackle or right guard spots.

What did his 2021 season look like? With the aforementioned knee injury and the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting his previous two years in Michigan, Stueber decided to stay in school for his 2021 senior campaign — a good decision based not just on the fact that he ended up getting selected in the NFL Draft. He also played some pretty good football during his final season in college, and as the Wolverines’ starting right tackle in all 14 contests delivered the best performance of his career up until that point.

Stueber ended up taking the field for a combined 927 offensive snaps, including 921 on the right end of the line (and six more on the left). He was primarily used as a run-blocker in new Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore’s scheme, helping the team rush for a Big Ten-leading average of 214.4 per game. Stueber also fared well when asked to pass-protect, though: the big-bodied tackle gave up just 11 combined quarterback disruptions throughout the entire season, including one sack.

His performance as a graduate student before and during his 2021 campaign earned him several individual accolades. Stueber was named second-team All-American as well as third-team All-Big Ten, and was later invited to both the Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl. He also was an integral part of a positional unit that received the Joe Moore Award given annually to the best offensive line in the nation. On top of it all, Stueber also was voted an alternate captain by his teammates.

2022 preview

What is his projected role? Stueber spent most of his college career at tackle, but the Patriots might give him a close look at guard as well. Either way, his versatility and experience in both spots will likely allow him to end up as a hybrid offering depth and a potential long-term perspective at either position. The best-case outlook for his rookie year appears to be him becoming RT2 behind either Trent Brown or Isaiah Wynn and/or OG3 behind Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu.

Does he have positional versatility? Stueber started 20 games at right tackle during his time in college, as well as two more at right guard. He furthermore took snaps at center during practices at the Senior Bowl during the pre-draft process and also aligned at left tackle for a handful of snaps in 2021. While there are some questions about his ability to play all five spots along the line at an NFL-caliber level, versatility is certainly one of his strengths — especially considering that he was used in zone, power and pin-and-pull schemes in college.

What is his special teams value? Just like virtually every other offensive linemen in the NFL, Stueber’s contributions in the kicking game will be quite limited. That does not mean he won’t have any special teams value, though. After all, he will likely be used as part of the Patriots’ protection teams on both field goals and extra point attempts. The rookie will not see any action on the coverage or return squads, however.

What is his salary cap situation? Stueber signed a standard four-year contract with the Patriots shortly after they drafted him, but only his fully-guaranteed $20,900 signing bonus proration for the 2022 season is currently counting against their salary cap. His overall cap number, after all, is not qualifying for Top-51 status and will only become relevant during the regular season. If he is on the 53-man team at that point, his $705,0000 salary would be added to the mix to result in a total cap charge of $725,900.

How safe is his roster spot? The Patriots’ starting five along the offensive line appear to be set in stone heading into 2022, which means that Stueber will spend training camp and preseason competing for a backup spot behind them. His positional flexibility should help him but he still needs to prove himself versus fellow tackle/guard hybrids such as William Sherman and Yasir Durant. Before any of that can happen, however, Stueber needs to get on the field: he was placed on the non-football injury list ahead of training camp after already missing offseason workouts and mandatory minicamp.

One-sentence projection: Stueber will remain on the NFI list throughout roster cuts and into the regular season, but he appears to be a candidate to see his 21-day return window opened further down the line.