GUARDS: Mankins, Connolly back for more

GUARDS: Mankins, Connolly back for more
July 11, 2013, 11:30 am
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Logan Mankins - 9th season
Dan Connolly - 8th season
Nick McDonald - 4th season
Marcus Cannon - 3rd season

Chris McDonald - Rookie
Josh Kline - Rookie

News of note: Last year's starting guards, Logan Mankins on the left and Dan Connolly on the right, are back for New England's 2013 campaign. At 31, Mankins did show signs of slowing last season. But he proved reliable enough through the stretch to earn his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl honor. Connolly went through a transition year, sliding over from center to replace Brian Waters. A season at right guard under his belt, combined with a February surgery to repair his right shoulder, might help Connolly return to the top of his game.  

If not, Marcus Cannon could be in line for the job. The 6-5, 360-pounder is on the rise in performance and, consequently, his coaches' esteem. At the very least, Donald Thomas' move to Indianapolis leaves a gap for an experienced guard and Cannon might have to take more snaps there instead of at tackle.

Veteran Nick McDonald played less than 20% of the total offensive snaps in 2012, but his versatility in playing any position on the line is valuable. Interestingly enough, the Patriots picked up his brother Chris after this year's draft. The younger McDonald, 6-5, 305-pounds, would also have to prove himself capable in multiple roles to stick around.  

Fellow undrafted rookie Josh Kline's odds at making the team are even longer. New England is lacking depth on the line, however, and the 6-3, 295-pound Kent State could sneak onto the practice squad.