CENTERS: Wendell to anchor the middle again

CENTERS: Wendell to anchor the middle again
July 11, 2013, 11:45 am
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Returning:
Ryan Wendell - C - 5th season
Nick McDonald - G/C - 4th season

Incoming:
Matt Stankiewitch - C - Rookie

News of note: Short list when you split up centers and guards. Keep in mind, a couple of guys may not be as limited as their official roster designation suggests. We can talk more about that when covering guards.

The offensive line as a whole performed well in 2012 and the starting center job was unequivocally earned by Ryan Wendell. ProFootballFocus.com gave him a +27.5 run blocking grade, the best among centers, and third-best among all O-liners. His 1,399 snaps last season -- in 18 total games on the line, kickoff return team, and field goal protection -- is impressive on a league-wide scale; the 27-year old is durable.

Waiting in the wings? Veteran Nick McDonald. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has lauded McDonald's versatility, as the player can be, and has been, inserted into any position on the line. He should be the one tapped if Wendell can't go.

New England did gain some potential depth in Penn State O-lineman Matt Stankiewitch. It helps that the 6-foot-4, 305-pounder was got a positive endorsement from former Patriots offensive coordinator, current Nittany Lions coach, Bill O'Brien. Playing in O'Brien's system may help Stankiewitch transition to the NFL. But he will have to push himself past a couple of fellow undrafted rookies in camp: Kent State product Josh Kline (6-3, 295) and Michigan State's Chris McDonald (6-5, 305).

Unrelated: Yes, Chris is the younger brother of Nick McDonald.