A closer look at the areas the New England Patriots could address in the draft. We'll get started Monday with a look at the offensive line, which is scheduled to work out Friday in Indianapolis.
Position of need: Guard/tackle. The Patriots solidified their center position by selecting Bryan Stork in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and also fed the right tackle pipeline with another fourth-round pick in Stanford's Cameron Fleming. But with starting left guard Dan Connolly scheduled for free agency and starting left tackle Nate Solder and starting right guard Ryan Wendell entering the final year of their contracts, there is more work to be done.
Three players the Patriots could target in the draft:
A.J. Cann (OG), South Carolina: Listed at 6-foot-4 and 311 pounds, Cann was first identified by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay as a possible fit for the Patriots near the end of the first round. He was a four-year starter in the SEC and his 51 starts are the second most in school history behind only T.J. Johnson (53). Cann, who had been voted a permanent team captain in his junior season, enjoyed a mission trip to Israel during the summer prior to his senior season.
Tre' Jackson (OG), Florida State: At 6-4 and 330 pounds, Jackson comes out of the same program that produced Stork, so perhaps the Patriots would see some additional value in pairing the two together again. Media analysts note Jackson dipped in 2014 after a stronger 2013 season, but he's a three-year starter who played at the highest level of competition, in a lot of big games.
Andrus Peat (OT), Stanford: The Patriots tapped the Stanford offensive line pipeline last year with Fleming, and in doing so, noted how the Cardinal have a pro-style offense and their linemen are well coached. Peat has physical traits that catch the eye (6-7, 316 pounds), and from a pure on-paper standpoint in the scouting process he reminds us a bit of Solder coming out of the 2011 draft. Based on media projections at this point, it seems unlikely Peat would be there before the Patriots' scheduled pick at No. 32.