Patriots rookie OT Sebastian Vollmer is making a push for more playing time in the New England offense. Much like Baltimore Ravens OT Michael Oher, Vollmer has played both tackle positions for his team due to injuries to the starters.
Swing tackles are somewhat of a rare beast in the NFL level. Though teams have to deal with injuries on a regular basis, few have players - especially reserve players - who can fit in at either position and not miss a beat. Teams typically carry extra linemen who can play one or the other position, but few can play both.
When asked about the importance of having the ability to play on both sides of the line, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick described how rare it is top linemen actually play both positions during the season. Belichick described Vollmer's skills with an air of appreciation.
"He played on the left side for Matt [Light] and played on the right side for [Nick] Kaczur and has played both [positions]," Belichick said. "It's not only unusual for those guys to have that skill, but for it to actually happen and be pretty good, that's pretty unusual. It really is."
Vollmer started five games for Light at left tackle and the past three at right tackle for Kaczur. Though both starters are healthy now, Vollmer will still see action in the game, either on a rotation basis, or in sub packages when the Patriots use a power formation.
New England selected Vollmer in the second round (58th overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft. Baltimore used their first round pick (23rd overall) on Oher. Both players have backgrounds worthy of a good story, though only Oher's was made into a movie "The Blind Side." Though Vollmer doesn't have a movie about him, he is widely respected by those who have seen him, including the Ravens.
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh admitted that the Ravens looked at Vollmer, but instead chose to go after Oher, ironically, via a trade with the Patriots.
"We really liked Sebastian coming out. He was really high on our draft board and then we ended up getting Michael [Oher]," Harbaugh said via conference all. "So that kind of pre-empted that and the Patriots drafted him pretty high."
Harbaugh, much like Belichick, heaped praise on Vollmer. "He's a very smart guy, a very hard worker," the Ravens coach said. But more importantly, Harbaugh is impressed with the one thing you cannot coach, size. "He's huge," came the comment.
For Harbaugh, Oher was their man, and he's standing by his guy now.
"For a rookie to come in and start, play really well, and then go to the other side and play really well. He really made a seamless transition from the right side to the left side," Harbaugh said of Oher's versatility. "I think it says a lot about obviously his talent. "
" He's really a smart guy and he really works hard at it."
Recapping The Trade
The Patriots handed Oher to the Ravens on Draft day when the team agreed to exchange picks. The Patriots received the Ravens first round (No. 26 overall) and a fifth-round pick (No. 162 overall) from Baltimore in exchange for New England's first round pick (No. 23).
New England then traded the Ravens pick (No. 26) and the Ravens fifth-round pick (No. 162 overall) to Green Bay who took LB Clay Matthews for a second-round pick (No. 41 overall - DB Darius Butler), a third-round pick (No. 73 overall) and a third-round selection (No. 83 overall - WR Brandon Tate).
Ravens get Michael Oher (23rd overall) and fifth-round pick (162 overall)
Patriots get Darius Butler, Brandon Tate Julian Edelman and 2010 3rd round pick.