|If Pats are Jonesing for offensive line help, Georgia’s Ben Jones could be their man||02.23.12 at 1:43 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — A year after taking Nate Solder 17th overall, the Patriots could stand to address the offensive line with one of their earlier picks again this season.
The the Pats could use a right guard, and the uncertainty of 32-year-old free agent Dan Koppen leaves the center position up in the air. Factor in that Koppen played in only one game last season due to a sprained ankle, and the Pats would be wise to at least snag a center.
Georgia’s Ben Jones could fit the bill for the Pats, as he has plenty of experience at both center and guard and is widely considered to be the draft’s second-best center prospect behind Wisconson’s Peter Konz.
“I can play guard,” Jones said Thursday at the scouting combine. “I played it at the Senior Bowl. I didn’t play center until I got to college. All of high school, I played guard, so I can play it any time.”
Aside from his versatility and balanced strengths in both pass protection and run-blocking, the 6-foot-2 4/8, 305-pound Jones could appeal to the Pats for his experience in the no-huddle offense, which the Patriots like to use.
“This year we went to a no-huddle offense,” Jones said. “We were a pro-style team, but we did it as a no-huddle to speed the game up and to open it up because we had a lot of weapons on the outside this year as receivers. I’m used to that, I’m used to going 80 to 90 snaps a game, so I can definitely do that.”
Jones said the no-huddle changes the way he plays his position, and that it has better prepared him for the next level.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” he said. “If you’re going at a fast pace, you’ve got to know. You’ve got to read the defense while they’re shifting and everything instead of hearing the play in the huddle and all of that. It’s definitely a little change, but I did it all year and you get the hang of it really quick.”
Perhaps he was playing to the crowd here in Indianapolis, but Jones said he would like to be like longtime Colts center Jeff Saturday. Jones could likely be had with one of the Patriots’ two second-round picks.
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