By Tom E. Curran
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran