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Patriots 2022 roster breakdown: Chasen Hines is a candidate for a redshirt season

Related: Patriots roster breakdown: Is Bill Murray turning into a two-way player?

Louisiana Tech v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

With training camp already underway, the New England Patriots have fully set their sights onto the upcoming 2022 season.

The team currently has 84 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 Chasen Hines.

Hard facts

Name: Chasen Hines

Position: Guard/Center

Jersey number: TBD (Offseason No. 63)

Opening day age: 22

Size: 6-foot-3, 325 pounds

Contract status: Under contract through 2025 (2026 UFA)


What is his experience? Hines entered the NFL earlier this year, when the Patriots invested the 210th overall selection in the sixth round of the draft to get him aboard. Naturally, his experience at the pro level is rather limited — something that is especially true given that he was unable to take the field during mandatory minicamp and the first week of training camp because of an undisclosed injury. Hines’ time in the NFL has therefore been limited to some behind-the-scenes and classroom work rather than on-field action.

A two-way player coming out of high school, Hines joined LSU as a defensive tackle but moved to offense ahead of his 2018 freshman campaign. After beginning his career as a backup at guard and center — starting one game over his first two seasons in Baton Rouge — he was elevated to a starting position entering his 2020 junior year. Hines went on to start 16 combined contests at right guard in 2020 and 2021, but also missed significant time due to injury. In total, he left LSU having appeared in 35 games with 17 starts.

What did his 2021 season look like? Coming off his first season as LSU’s starting right guard, expectations were high for Hines heading into his senior campaign. However, he was not quite live up to them in large part due to injuries limiting his availability. While he did start seven of the eight games he participated in during his final college season and had some encouraging moments — especially as a run blocker — he also was unable to participate in five of the Tigers’ 13 games.

Hines had to sit out the Week 2 game versus McNeese State for undisclosed reasons and later also had to leave a mid-October game against Florida in the first quarter. A lower leg injury originally suffered during pregame warmups forced him to depart the game after just 11 snaps. He was out the following week versus Ole Miss as well before returning for one game against Alabama. However, he then sat out three more contests before returning for the season finale versus Kansas State.

Hines’ issues in 2021 were not just tied to his inconsistent availability. He also had his ups and downs when on the field. As noted above, he performed well in the running game due to his blend of balance and lateral quickness. However, he also had his fair share of issues as a pass protector: Hines was credited with nine quarterback pressures given up, including three sacks. As a result, his draft stock never soared and eventually had to wait until late on Day 3 to hear his name called by the Patriots.

2022 preview

What is his projected role? Hines spent his entire career at LSU along the interior offensive line, and he will not line up anywhere else in New England once he returns to the field. While his experience at center is a plus and he could step in in an emergency situation, the he projects primarily as a guard at the next level and will build his foundation at that position. While he might turn into a starting-caliber player at one point he will serve backup duty early on in his career.

Does he have positional versatility? Even if his history as a two-way player is disregarded — which it probably should be — Hines is a somewhat versatile player. While 16 of his 17 career starts at LSU came at right guard, he also started one contest on the left side and served as LSU’s backup center during his sophomore season. He furthermore played some right tackle during his senior year in high school. Realistically, though, his positional flexibility is limited to the three interior offensive line spots and special teams.

What is his special teams value? Speaking of Hines’ possible kicking game contributions, he will likely play the classic special teams role held by offensive linemen: he will serve as part of the protection squad on the field goal and extra point units. Other than that he should not be expected to see the field in the game’s third phase; his 6-foot-3, 325-pound frame simply prevents him from filling any other role.

What is his salary cap situation? Hines signed a classic four-year rookie contract shortly after getting drafted by the Patriots, worth a total of $3.8 million. As far as his 2022 season is concerned, he is carrying a salary cap number of $742,010 — one currently not large enough to qualify for Top-51 status. As a consequence, only his fully-guaranteed $37,010 signing bonus proration is currently on the team’s books. Hines’ $705,000 base salary will only be added to the equation if he makes the roster.

How safe is his roster spot? Despite the Patriots having invested a draft pick in Hines, his spot on the team is far from safe. Not only was he a sixth-round draft pick at a position with the starters set and plenty of more experienced players fighting for backup spots, he also missed parts of the offseason as well as the first four training camp practices due to a mystery ailment. Hines not ending up on the active 53-man team come the regular season would therefore not be a surprise.

One-sentence projection: The Patriots will keep Hines on the non-football injury list through roster cutdown day, but might at least have him return to practice at one point further down the line.