Running backs will draw most of the attention at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, but the offensive linemen deserve some attention, too.
The Patriots certainly have a type when it comes to running backs, but their drafting trends are less obvious at offensive tackle and along the interior offensive line.
The Patriots generally draft heavier offensive tackles with above-average lateral quickness, vertical explosion and strength. Many would assume the Patriots prefer more athletic offensive tackles because of Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, but that historically hasn’t been the case.
At guard and center, the Patriots value athleticism much more highly. Guards and centers drafted by the Patriots have above average speed, agility and lateral quickness. Starting guards Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason are among the most athletic interior linemen in the NFL.
The Patriots are unlikely to look for guards in the 2017 NFL Draft, but we said the same thing last year, and they grabbed Thuney and Ted Karras. The Patriots are more likely to try to draft a center or a swing tackle to serve as depth behind Solder and Marcus Cannon. If they’re looking for an O-lineman who can play left tackle behind Solder, they likely will be trying to find a more athletic player with long arms.
Here were Solder’s measurables:
Height: 80.25 inches
Weight: 319 pounds
40-Yard Dash: 5.05 seconds
10-Yard Split: 1.77 seconds
3-Cone: 7.44 seconds
Short Shuttle: 4.34 seconds
Vertical Leap: 32 inches
Broad Jump: 9 feet, 2 inches
Bench Press: 21 reps
Arm Length: 35.5 inches
Hand Size: 9.875 inches
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images