Chris Barker Among O-Line Candidates To Fill Patriots’ 53rd Roster Spot


FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots have just five healthy offensive linemen, an open roster spot and four blockers on their practice squad — so you do the math.

The Patriots are likely to sign one of those offensive linemen to their 53-man roster off the practice squad before Sunday’s Week 10 matchup with the New York Giants. The move likely will come Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, because those pesky Patriots don’t like giving teams an extra day to prepare for a player — even a backup offensive lineman.

Offensive tackles Sebastian Vollmer (concussion) and Marcus Cannnon (toe), and guard Tre’ Jackson (knee) missed practice Friday and are likely to be declared inactive for Sunday’s game. That leaves just Cameron Fleming, Bryan Stork, Shaq Mason, Josh Kline and David Andrews on their offensive line. The Patriots also have tight end Michael Williams, who started his NFL career at offensive line, to serve as an emergency blocker.

The Patriots likely will start Fleming at left tackle, Mason at left guard, Andrews at center, Kline at right guard and Stork at right tackle. That’s how they finished their Week 9 win over the Washington Redskins after Vollmer went down. It was a slight surprise to see Stork inserted at tackle, since he’s a center, over Williams, who had NFL experience at the position.

The Patriots have offensive linemen Chris Barker, Blaine Clausell, Keavon Milton and Torrian Wilson on their practice squad. Barker, who has been with the team since 2013, is the most likely candidate to be promoted.

Barker, 25, is listed at just 6-foot-2, 300 pounds and started at guard for four seasons in college. The Nevada product mostly has played guard with the Patriots, but he did line up at tackle this preseason and in training camp. The Patriots originally added Barker when they claimed him off waivers from the Miami Dolphins in September 2013. He has played in five games on special teams with the Patriots in three seasons. He would be able to fill in at guard or tackle in a pinch.

Clausell, 23, started 38 career games at left tackle in college at Mississippi State. He was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent this May, but he was part of the team’s final cuts. The Patriots then signed the 6-foot-6, 339-pound blocker to the practice squad, where he has remained since before Week 1.

Milton, 25, began his NFL career at tight end as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 2013. He played tight end for the Saints and Cleveland Browns before being signed by the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 and moved to guard. The 6-foot-4, 324-pounder potentially could play offensive tackle, since he’s used to playing on the edge of the line at tight end.

Wilson, 23, started 42 games at left tackle in college at Central Florida, but he’s listed at just 6-foot-2, 318 pounds, which is very short for an NFL offensive tackle. He signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent this offseason and was released Sept. 5.

Milton and Wilson were signed to the Patriots’ practice squad Tuesday.

It’s unclear who the Patriots will sign, but Barker and Clausell seem like the leading candidates because of their respective experience and size.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots guar Chris Barker during Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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