by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
Many draftniks believe the Patriots will pick an offensive lineman in the first two rounds, mainly because the 2009 class has only slightly more depth than a skillet. Very few linemen picked after round two project as starters, especially for a Patriots squad that returns its first-team five from last season.
As with most New England picks in the later rounds, versatility becomes key. Players selected after Day One must have the potential to fill in along the line and make themselves valuable when called into action. Due to this position flexibility, I’ve refrained from pigeon-holing each player as a center, guard or tackle. And from now on, I shall refrain from using the term “pigeon-holing.”
As has been the case, early Day Two refers to third round to midway through the fourth, mid mean mid-fourth to mid-sixth, and late means, well, late.
EARLY DAY TWO
Can hit, can run: Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati. At 6-5, 311 pounds, Canfield fits the Patriots prototype for linemen. He lacks great speed, but with 32 bench presses of 225 pounds at his pro day, he has shown the strength to hold down the middle. He got in trouble in college breaking a bottle over someone’s head (Um, allegedly. Maybe he mistook the guy for a ship and tried to christen him). His highlight reel depicts a player who knows where to be with the aggressiveness to get the job done.
All’s well that Caldwell: Before starting at center for Alabama, Antoine Caldwell (6-3, 305) filled in at every position along the line. A center needs brains, and he’s got them: Caldwell earned his degree in just three years. His one hiccup deserves some explanation, as he was suspended for four games for committing a “textbook violation” described on this ESPN blog. This angers me to the point where I need an aside paragraph…
(Hey, NCAA? With all the hypocritical sewage you create, you’re telling me you can’t take it easy on a player trying to get free books? Suspension, fine, but four games? I mean, in terms of infractions, “Impermissible receipt of textbooks” doesn’t exactly rank up there with “involved in nightclub shooting.” College players pose for magazine covers and T.V. ads to promote your product, and they play on national television past midnight to make you millions. But if one of them tries for an academic freebie in the form of a book for his girlfriend, he gets suspended for a third of the season. Sweet. You guys are awesome. Also, nice work on the whole BCS thing.)
Thanks for indulging me. Now, where were we? Ah, yes…
A good pick-up Lion: It’s usually a solid idea to pluck a left tackle from a productive team, which means Gerald Cadogan of Penn State (6-5, 310) deserves a look here. He demonstrates fleet feet for a big man on this NFL.com video from the combine. A couple of weeks after those drills, the Nittany Lion answered questions from PD regarding his athletic career (which included swimming in high school. I tell you, the man is versatile.)
MID DAY TWO
Light in Augustus: It takes something to stand out on a team of Flashes, and Augustus Parrish did just that. The 6-4, 297-pound Kent State product was named to the All-MAC second team two years in a row. He played tackle in college, but his lack of NFL-level speed (as seen in this combine video) will probably knock him inside to guard.
Ask not for whom he tolls: Initially seen as a late-round tackle from a smaller school, Joel Bell of Furman put on a combine performance that bumped him to the middle rounds. The 6-7, 315-pound Paladin ran the 40 in 5.11 seconds and benched for 27 reps (which he improved to 29 on Furman’s pro day). Not sure when his 30-inch vertical jump will come in handy on the football field, but I definitely want him on my hoops team.
LATE DAY TWO –
In a Show-Me state: Coming from a Division II school, 6-3, 326-pound guard Roger Allen stood out at Missouri Western. During his interview with PD, the former Griffon discussed his proclivity for the run game. After bench-pressing 225 pounds 38 times on his pro day, it’s easy to see why.
What wine goes with trout? In the shadow of Florida teammate Jason Watkins, Phil Trautwein (6-6, 308) played left tackle and earned all-SEC honors for the champion Gators. If you don’t blink, you might catch Trautwein (number 75) delivering a goal-line block to help QB Tim Tebow score.
Coming next week: defensive line picks.
Chris Warner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org