BOSTON (CBS) – Ben Volin of the Boston Globe joined Bob Socci to talk some football in the latest installment of the NFL Draft Preview Show.
The conversation opened with Volin lauding the Patriots for exercising Nate Solder’s 2015 option, a move he saw as a “no-brainer.” The option ensures that the Patriots starting left tackle will be under contract for the next two years at a reasonable price.
New England may have gotten a break in terms of scheduling early on, as Volin pointed out that they aren’t taking on too many Pro Bowl quarterbacks at the start of the season. This is especially fortuitous because Brandon Browner will be out until Week 5 due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
However, the season opener against the Dolphins is a game Volin cautioned Patriots fans should not take lightly, as a 1 PM kickoff in Miami during early September promises to be a scorcher.
“You can’t replicate that heat up here in New England,” Volin said, also noting that the Patriots will be in their dark blue away uniforms.
The middle of the schedule is where things get tough for New England, as they’ll be facing Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Rodgers. Shutting down this many gunslingers in a row may prove to be a daunting task for the secondary.
The talk turned to the Patriots divisional opponents this season, and Volin is impressed with the makeup of the Dolphins roster. He believes that their Cortland Finnegan signing will bring toughness, but that their success will ultimately come down to one player.
“The Dolphins chances this year hinge on Ryan Tannehill, and his development in his third season. If Tannehill can develop, that’s a ten win team down there in Miami.”
When asked about quarterbacks in the upcoming draft, Volin said that Blake Bortles stands above the rest. If the Texans want a quarterback with the first overall selection, Volin believes the standout from Central Florida is the only logical choice.
In terms of the Patriots reported interest in the quarterback position, Volin thinks that isn’t as a replacement for Tom Brady, but rather a replacement for Ryan Mallett. He believes it’s far too early to think about replacing Brady, especially with the shortened rookie contracts now.
You can’t have an Aaron Rodgers situation where a young quarterback is mentored for three years, and then still has three years remaining to play out his rookie deal.
Ultimately Volin believes that the Patriots will be looking for defensive line help in the draft, as he felt that Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich were both overworked last season. Volin pointed out that Jones only had one sack in the final seven games last season, and believes that may be the result of fatigue.
You can listen to the entire interview below: