We continue our position-by-position breakdown of the roster with a look at the offensive line.
Locks:Nate Solder, Shaq Mason, Sebastian Vollmer, Joe Thuney, Bryan Stork, David Andrews, Jonathan Cooper, Marcus Cannon, Tre Jackson.
Bubble: LaAdrian Waddle, Josh Kline, Ted Karras.
Long shots: Chris Barker, Cameron Fleming, Keavon Milton.
BREAKDOWN: Injuries have made this projection a bit tougher at this time of year than normal. Josh Kline (shoulder) and Tre' Jackson (knee) never appeared on the practice field in front of the media this spring while Shaq Mason was present for only the final OTA. The health of those players impacts the depth chart immensely. If Kline and/or Jackson aren't available at the start of the season it would open a spot or two. The Patriots have frequently gone with nine offensive linemen on the active roster. Waddle worked at left tackle with Solder (biceps) still recovering from his season-ending injury so he's probably closer to safe than the rest of the bubble guys. Cooper held down a spot at right guard with Jackson and Kline out so we'll give him a spot too. It was interesting to see Andrews taking his share of reps ahead of Stork this spring, as well as the rookie Thuney getting some reps at center. It's possible Stork isn't quite a lock but until the whole group is healthy and on the field together it's tough to imagine him off the roster. Adding Thuney, Cooper and rookie Ted Karras could make Kline expendable. Karras is a likely practice squad candidate if he's squeezed out of a roster spot. Veterans Barker and Fleming have been cut by the Patriots in the past so their odds are long, as are those of Milton. The final spots will come down to health, and the additions should allow New England to handle that adversity more effectively than it did a year ago.