Sebastian Vollmer draws recognition

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When considering some of the best right tackles in the NFL, Sebastian Vollmer of the New England Patriots rates highly.

In fact, in the view of ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton, Vollmer is the best in the league at the position. Clayton makes his case by putting Vollmer on his 2014 All-Pro team.

Vollmer is one of five Patriots to get a nod on Clayton's team, joining tight end Rob Gronkowski, cornerback Darrelle Revis, kicker Stephen Gostkowski and special-teamer Matthew Slater.

Of the group, Vollmer's inclusion stands out most, in part because right tackle isn't the type of headline-grabbing position that generally warrants a lot of debate and discussion. Few are evaluating that position closely on a weekly basis when compared to the skill positions on offense.

With Clayton's work as a springboard, I did a quick scan of right-tackle depth charts across the NFL and also considered what the Patriots faced this season at the position. The conclusion that was reached was aligned with Clayton's: When healthy, Vollmer rates at, or near, the top of the list. At 6-foot-8 and 320 pounds, he is a good athlete, has a long reach and powerful punch, and has mostly held his ground against some of the game's best pass-rushers (e.g. Mario Williams, Cameron Wake).

Specific to 2014, Vollmer has been the Patriots' most consistent offensive lineman from this viewpoint, starting the first 15 games before getting a break in the regular-season finale when the team had already locked up the No. 1 seed. Add in the fact that he was coming off a broken leg that sidelined him for the second half of the 2013 season, and it's quietly been a very nice bounce-back season for the six-year veteran.