As Vollmer stepped onto the artificial turf of Lucas Oil Stadium, he had probably the toughest task of any Patriots offensive linemen: he was one-on-one with one of the league's top pass rushers, Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. It was only his fourth career start at left tackle filling in for injured Patriots All Pro left tackle Matt Light.
All Vollmer and his 6-foot-8-inch, 315 pound frame did was engulf the 6-foot-1, 268 pound Freeney into frustration and submission. He held Freeney to no sacks and contributed to an offensive line that helped Tom Brady to his fourth straight 300-yard passing game. Even when they ran, Vollmer set the edge on the draw plays.
During the broadcast of that game, Chris Collinsworth said the Patriots may have a "budding star." Let's not put Vollmer in Canton just yet, but the Patriots saw something in the big tackle that most scouts did not. Although he was not invited to the NFL Combine, he did have a private workout with Dante Scarnecchia, the Patriots offensive line coach, prior to the 2009 NFL Draft. Vollmer was taken by the Patriots in the second round (58th overall) in the draft.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (12) is protected by RB Laurence Maroney (39) and OL Sebastian Vollmer (76) vs the Tennessee Titans. Oct. 18, 2009 The Patriots won 59-0. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
With arguably their best offensive lineman, Logan Mankins, holding out of the Patriots 2010 training camp because of a contract dispute, and with Light getting long in the tooth, Vollmer has a shot to truly stand out in the trenches this season. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has described Vollmer as being a good run and pass blocker due to his strength and his large athletic frame. He also gives the Patriots versatility on the offensive line.
"He's done a good job for us on both the left side and the right side," said Belichick last season. "He's got a good future."
Vollmer played a total of 14 games in 2009, starting five games at left tackle and three games at right tackle. He was part of an offensive line that allowed only 18 sacks all season; it was the lowest sacks allowed since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule. He also started at right tackle during the playoff game against Baltimore.
Not resting on his laurels, Vollmer looks to build on his stellar rookie season with hard work during the offseason. Patriots Insider reported back in March that Vollmer spent virtually the entire offseason in Foxboro preparing for the upcoming season.
"I was here, kept working out, getting a jump on things," Vollmer said. "Just trying to get better."
"He's worked hard and he continues to improve," said Belichick following the 2009 season. He's definitely headed in the right direction."
New England Patriots OL Sebastian Vollmer blocks DL Le Kevin Smith Aug 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Kevin Saleeba is a frequent contributor and columnist to Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Share your thoughts on this article, or send your questions to Kevin ( here ).
More Patriots News
Follow Our updates via Twitter: @PatriotsInsider