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The Fresno State affiliate on Scout, Barkboard.com, first reported that center Ryan Wendell agreed to terms with the New England Patriots. According to the report, a family member confirmed Ryan is headed to Foxborough. With the successful path blazed by previous Bulldogs James Sanders (D2005 5th round) and Logan Mankins (D2005, 1st round) to Foxborough, Wendell obviously hopes their success rubs off.
Scouting Report (Tom Marino):
Needs to improve explosion and finish. I have concerns about his play strength, his play against backside pursuit and level of competition. He didn't get good fits on his blocks inside and has much room for improvement.
Patriots Insider Impact Analysis:
The Patriots like the Fresno State connection regardless of what scouts have said. A clear indication that Wendell needs to bulk up by several major scouting services indicates that unless he did some work leading up to the Draft and minicamp, it will be a tough road for the former Rimington Trophy watch candidate and All-WAC honoree. New England needs interior guards and a backup center. Each year the team has tried to build depth at the position via free agency or late Draft picks, the effort has been thwarted as those players wash out during training camp. Wendell could be the exception to that trend, but with experienced veterans Billy Yates and Russ Hochstein firmly entrenched at the spot, it will be tough to land a primary backup role. Wendell will need to best Dan Connor and Jimmy Martin for a spot on the practice squad.
Fresno State (C) Ryan Wendell and QB Tom Brandstater
(Photo: Fresno State Athletics)
BIO: Fresno State: Starred on the offensive line each of the last three seasons ... earned national honors for his outstanding play in 2004 ... has emerged as a team leader ... will play center in his senior season ... started 48 consecutive games in his career selected to the Rimington Award Watch list heading into the 2007 season.
(2007) Started all 13 games, eight at center and five at guard selected first-team All-WAC.
(2006) Started all 12 games, eight at guard and the final four at center ... All-WAC honoree ... part of the Bulldog line that set a school record for fewest quarterback sacks with 12 ... earned Academic All-WAC honors.
(2005) Started all 13 games ... was an important part of Fresno State's offensive front which led the WAC with fewest quarterback sacks, 14 in 400 pass attempts, produced a 1,000-yard rusher and a 3,000-yard passer ... the Dogs averaged 39.9 points per game.
(2004) Played in and started nine games as a true freshman ... earned first-team Freshman All-American honors ... selected the WAC Co-Freshman of the Year, making him just the second lineman ever honored in league history ... a key cog to the Bulldog offensive machine that ranked fifth nationally in scoring at more than 38 points per game and one of a handful of teams in NCAA history to score 50 or more points in four consecutive games ... Fresno State averaged 52.8 points per game in their six-game winning streak to end the season ... helped the Bulldog backfield produce a 1,000-yard rusher and set a school record 503 rushing yards vs. Hawaii.
High School: Had more than 50 tackles, six sacks and caused three fumbles... selected first-team All-CIF Southern Section as a defensive lineman as a senior and won the same honor as an offensive lineman as a junior ... named the Sierra League's Most Valuable Player ... a two-time first team All-Sierra League selection ... had his jersey retired at Diamond Bar High School and was elected to the school's Hall of Fame ... named to the Los Angeles Times All-Star squad ... an excellent student, who won the California Governor's Scholar Share Award ... comes from the same high school that produced Bulldog All-WAC tackle Joe Schey ... selected second-team All-State by Cal-Hi Sports ... placed second in the Sierra League and sixth in the CIF Southern Section in wrestling as a junior.
Bio courtesy Fresno State Athletics