In the lead-up to training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the offensive line.
LOCKS: Isaiah Wynn (LT); Michael Onwenu (G/T); David Andrews (C); Shaq Mason (RG); Trent Brown (OT); Ted Karras (C/G); Justin Herron (OT)
BUBBLE: Will Sherman (OT); Alex Redmond (OG); James Ferentz (C/G)
IN THE MIX: Yodny Cajuste (T); Korey Cunningham (T); Marcus Martin (OG)
The Patriots tapped some of their former performers to help aid a bit of transition for the offensive line this season, as new starters are expected at the left guard and right tackle positions.
David Andrews' return along with the acquisition of Trent Brown were the two biggest "additions" as Andrews has been a team captain and a key part of continuity. Brown played left tackle for the Pats in 2018, winning a Super Bowl and is expected to pin down the right tackle spot, the position he's played for most of his professional career except for that one season in New England.
The key departures were Joe Thuney, who signed a big deal with the Chiefs, and Marcus Cannon, who opted out of the 2020 season and was subsequently traded to Houston earlier this offseason. Michael Onwenu was outstanding at right tackle in 2020 and now likely projects to move back to his more natural position at left guard where he should replace Thuney, but his versatility is a big bonus for positional depth. Shaq Mason is back for his seventh season with the team as the starter at right guard.
The Pats rounded out their back-up depth by bringing back Ted Karras, who spent a year starting at center in Miami and now returns to New England where he's expected to be the top interior swing reserve. Karras is a locker room favorite and can play any of the interior positions.
Justin Herron showed swing tackle potential in 2020 and enters training camp as the top back up on the edges of the line, but he'll be challenged by Korey Cunningham, who has spent two seasons with the team as mostly a reserve, and Yodny Cajuste, who lost his first two seasons to injuries.
Sixth-round pick Will Sherman was a tackle in college but will have to find where he fits best in the NFL. He'll have competition from veterans James Ferentz, Marcus Martin and Alex Redmond, a trio that has over 50 NFL starts combined.