The New England Patriots most important need this offseason is offensive tackles, plural. The team eschewed going in that direction last offseason and they were penalized significantly for the mistake.
The Patriots can go in several directions to fill this need. They can sign a top free agent like left tackle, Orlando Brown Jr., (the best option) in free agency, or another top free agent like right tackle, Mike McGlinchey. Either is a top upgrade.
Brown is a left tackle and would slot right into that position with Trent Brown moving to right tackle this season. The team can then fill another spot e.g. with a top edge player like Lukas Van Ness of Iowa.
They then can move early on to draft another big tackle like Dawand Jones from Ohio State. But there is also another player who the team should definitely consider after signing or starting a left tackle. He’s a versatile offensive lineman who fills a lot of needs.
Let’s take a look at exactly who fits.
New England Patriots should consider Cody Mauch of North Dakota State
Cody Mauch is a tall offensive tackle who has the benefit of an attribute greatly valued (at times) by the New England Patriots, versatility.
Mauch stands 6’5″ tall, weighs in at 302 pounds, but has somewhat short 32 5/8″, but has big 9 3/4″ hands. The Patriots need tackles with length above almost any other trait. So why then Mauch with his short arms?
The answer is Mauch has the positional versatility to play four positions on the offensive line. He’s fully capable of slotting in at every position but center and that might be an option down the road.
Since cutting ties with the ever-versatile, valuable, and talented guard and center Ted Karras last offseason for whatever reason, the New England Patriots have paid the price. Mauch could be the remedy.
Assuming the Patriots draft or sign at least one (or two) other starting tackle(s), then Mauch’s addition could be a great third move with significant benefits all along the front line.
New England Patriots can use Cody Mauch’s versatility
Nfl.com has this to say in their overview of the player who will instantly become a fan favorite,
"Mauch’s two front teeth are missing (they were knocked out during a junior high basketball game) and he wears a big mop of shoulder-length red hair, so you get the sense you are about to watch a hockey player on turf when you turn on the game tape. As expected, Mauch is a rugged player with an attacking demeanor who does his most consistent work as a drive blocker in the run game. Inconsistent footwork in pass protection and below average arm length could foreshadow a move inside to guard, where he is capable of competing for a starting job as a scheme-versatile tough guy."
Mauch certainly seems to check more boxes as a guard than a tackle. However, his experience and height also will allow him to fill in at tackle or at any of the four positions mentioned earlier and eventually start.
His versatility is an asset not only for depth in this critical unit but also provides flexibility in game-day roster construction. Mauch’s versatility allows the team to add to another position as the upcoming game-planning requires, as Karras once did.
One problem is Mauch is looked upon as a first-round talent with mock drafts slotting him in anywhere from 16 to 30 in the first round. That’s a problem for the Patriots picking at 14.
Having taken a guard in last year’s first round, they can’t afford to with their top pick this season. They need a minimum of two tackles before going for the interior of the offensive line.
Nevertheless, Mauch’s versatility, especially if the team feels he can play right tackle could make him a player of significant interest.
What do you think of Cody Mauch as a possible New England Patriots draft pick?