NFL free-agent preview: Offensive line

NFL free-agent preview: Offensive line
March 11, 2013, 11:45 am
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TOM E. CURRAN'S
FREE AGENT PREVIEWS:

Defensive backs
Linebackers
Defensive line
Offensive line

Here's the fourth installment in a series of looks at impending free agents and how they might fit in with the Patriots' needs. To date, we've hit on linebackers, defensive backs, and defensive linemen. Today we're looking at the other side of the ball, starting with the offensive line.

PATRIOTS DEPTH CHART
T: Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Markus Zusevics
G: Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly
C: Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald, Jamey Richard
 
PENDING FREE AGENTS
T: Sebastian Vollmer
G: Donald Thomas
 
OVERVIEW
The Patriots have four of their five starters from 2012 returning, but they are really hurting for depth. Nick McDonald is the backup at multiple positions, Jamey Richard is roster fodder and Markus Zusevics is wholly unproven. With Donald Thomas poised to sign elsewhere and get a chance to be a starter and Vollmer hitting the market as well, the Patriots have work to do. In the end, though, they always seem to get enough players for Dante Scarnecchia to whip into shape and perform as a group better than the individual parts would indicate.

TOP-TIER
T: Andre Smith, Jake Long, Eric Winston
G: Andy Levitre
C: Todd McClure
 
MID-LEVEL
T: Gosder Cherilus, Phil Loadholt, Jermon Bushrod
G: Louis Vasquez, Brandon Moore
C: Dan Koppen, Brad Meester, Andre Gurode