Draft Buzz: Patriots Focused On The O Line

Three years ago the Patriots looked at a college center who was selected in the 2nd round by the Vikings. Two years ago it was a pair of centers who ended up as starters. This year it's another center who can play multiple positions. Is New England serious about rebuilding the offensive line this time? They may have to if they want to address their depth.

Oregon’s Max Unger has the size to play nearly any position on the offensive line, as he measures in at a cool 6’5”, 299 lbs. The former first team All-Pac-10 center has the intelligence that most teams covet in the “smartest” position on the line, as centers usually call out all the pass protections and blocking assignments.

The Hawaiian native has an engaging personality, as he looks into everyone’s eyes when speaking to them, and he stands with a confidence that doesn’t show cockiness, like many of his Senior Bowl teammates. When asked about the level of competition at the Senior Bowl, Unger gave his thoughts.

“There’s a couple guys in the Pac-10 that are this caliber, but to face a whole defensive line that’s this caliber has never really happened to me before, and it’s pretty cool,” Unger said. “You have to adjust your game quite a bit when you’re playing guys this good, but this is what it’s all about.”

Unger starred in many of the drills during Senior Bowl practices, and he was even able to hold his own against Boston College’s stud defensive tackle, B.J. Raji, who dominated nearly every practice and opponent.


Max Unger prepares against Corvey Irvin #90 of the South Team at the Senior Bowl Jan 24, 2009 (Photo Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

When most think of Pac-10 football, the initial thoughts that come to mind are open, air-it-out types of offenses with little defensive resistance. Still, the Pac-10 has two of the top rated centers in this years draft in Unger and California’s Alex Mack, and the conference posted a very impressive 5-0 bowl record.

“The Pac-10 is a pretty good league and sometimes we don’t get as much respect and notoriety as some conferences,” Unger said when asked about the type of ball they play out west.

Max Unger could be the type of player that can be a 12-year NFL starter, as he has the size, intelligence, and balance that it takes to succeed at the next level. With the versatility that Unger possesses, he will be invaluable to any professional team as he can move along the different positions on the line. Unger is currently projected as a second-round pick.

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Forums: Patriots Need An Offensive Lineman


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.


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