Free agent primer: Offensive tackles

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Free agent primer: Offensive tackles

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

This is the third in a series of looks at the Patriots' position-by-position needs after the draft, and who's available to fill them via free agency . . . whenever free agency might come. Today's position: Offensive tackle.Who's here?
Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Nick Kaczur, Mark Levoir, Steve Maneri.
Who's out there?
Matt Light (Patriots), Willie Colon (Steelers), Marshal Yanda (Ravens), Sean Locklear (Seahawks), Tyson Clabo (Falcons), Ryan O'Callagahan (Chiefs), Doug Free (Cowboys), Langston Walker (Raiders).What's the need?
From 1-10? Let's call it a 4.Previous to the draft, it was a 10 as in - they have to sign a free agent left tackle, probably Matt Light. But now that they've drafted Nate Solder, the urgency is gone. Still, the Patriots will want a tutorsafety net for Solder and the feeling here is that Light will be retained to fill that role.
As for the rest, Vollmer's got the right side locked down. Kaczur makes too much money, gets hurt too much and isn't that good when he actually plays. He's staring at a pay cut or a release. Levoir is a depth guy. Maneri? The converted Temple tight end may have some upside to him. He hasn't yet gotten out to display it yet. Who do they chase?
Higher-end guys like Colon, Clabo and Free are unlikely. The Patriots just simply need depth and versatility behind the two guys they surely expect to bookend their offensive line for the next six seasons at least. Light is a layup. Also, the versatile Marshal Yanda or the slightly banged-up Jared Gaither could be possibilities. Who do we look at next?
Interior offensive linemen
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

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PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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