By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Offensive line doesn't seem to be among the Patriots' biggest needs in the NFL Draft. But they may be treating it that way.
According to a new report by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Patriots are among 14 teams set for private meetings with Washington offensive lineman Kaleb McGary. Wilson describes McGary as a "potential first-rounder".
While the first round may not be a lock for McGary, multiple recent mock drafts have him going 44th to the Green Bay Packers. Another has him going to the Cleveland Browns at No. 49. So if the Patriots really want him, they may need to spend the 32nd pick on him if they can't trade down.
McGary delivered a first team All-Pac-12 season as a senior at Washington, starting all 14 games at right tackle. While he does have the size to play tackle in the NFL (6-foot-7, 317 pounds), his skill set may be better suited for guard. Multiple scouting reports cite his footwork and lack of lateral quickness as concerns when it comes to handling NFL edge rushers.
The Patriots may find McGary's tackle experience attractive, with an eye toward developing him on the interior. Left guard Joe Thuney is entering the final year of his rookie contract, so perhaps Bill Belichick will want to grab insurance for that spot in April's draft. They're also in need of a swing tackle who can play on the right side a la LaAdrian Waddle, so McGary could fit that profile.
If drafted to New England, McGary would be the first Patriots pick out of Washington since fifth-round linebacker Hakim Akbar in 2001.
It may drive some fans nuts if Belichick takes an offensive lineman with one of his first picks, especially as it appears the Patriots are targeting more needy positions like receiver and tight end. But these private visits could very well predict who actually gets the call from the Hoodie on draft weekend. Add McGary to your list.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].