FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots packaged their final two tradable draft picks and sent them to Washington to move to the top of the seventh round, where they selected Vanderbilt tackle Thomas Welch.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder started 24 games in his last two seasons at Vanderbilt, and he was named the team's offensive player of the week twice during his senior year.
Welch earned some snaps at tight end early in his career before making the full-time switch to the offensive line. He started at right tackle in his junior year before moving to left tackle as a senior. Welch obviously has a huge frame, slightly smaller than Sebastian Vollmer, and he was considered Vanderbilt's best offensive lineman in 2009.
The Patriots are pretty set at the top of the depth chart at tackle. Matt Light will likely start on the left side with Vollmer on the right side, and Nick Kaczur figures to be the next in line at right tackle. Mark LeVoir also seems to be a guy who they have high hopes for. If Welch has a good string of offseason camps, the Patriots might try to get him onto their practice squad.
"He played a good part of the year on an injured ankle, so he showed a lot of toughness during the season."
—Bill Belichick on Welch's senior season