Fifth in a series of positional reviews from the Patriots’ 2009 season:
Offensive tackles: Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, Nick Kaczur, Mark LeVoir
Stat check: Light started 12 games at left tackle, with Vollmer starting five during a mid-season stretch in which Light was injured. Kaczur started the first 13 games of the season at right tackle, before Vollmer replaced him for the final four when Kaczur injured his shoulder.
First instinct: Vollmer, who many felt was a reach as a late second-round draft choice (58th overall) because scouting guides rated him as a late-rounder or free-agent type, looks like a big hit in the draft.
Storyline not be overlooked: Vollmer’s rapid ascent. One of his strong performances came against the Colts and dangerous end Dwight Freeney.
Future: Light enters the final year of his contract and is scheduled to earn $4.5 million, which management might deem too rich with Vollmer waiting in the wings. Kaczur signed an extension through 2012, while LeVoir was extended through 2011. Vollmer is signed through 2012.
Final thought: Bill Belichick made the point multiple times during the season that he views Light as a left tackle. So when considering the best combination of tackles for 2010, Light possibly flipping to the right side doesn’t seem like it is on the team’s radar. Thus, one of the top questions in this area for the Patriots is whether they view Vollmer as an upgrade at left tackle at this time, or if they want to wait one more year to make that move.
POSITIONAL QUICK HITS