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Training camp preview: Guard/center

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 25, 2012 04:01 PM

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Logan Mankins (left) will start training camp on the unable to perform list while Dan Connolly (right) will be on the field but his position is uncertain. (Associated Press)

Shalise Manza Young provides a status report on the Patriots' offensive position groups heading into the start of training camp on Thursday.

Position: Guard/center
Current number of players: 10
Four-year average at cut to 53: 5.5
Last season at 53: 5

Locks (4): Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen
Near-locks: None
Battling (5): Donald Thomas, Robert Gallery, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald, Jeremiah Warren
Long shots (1): Jamey Richard

53-man prediction
On the team:
Mankins, Waters, Connolly, Koppen, Gallery, Warren
Cut: Thomas, Wendell, McDonald, Richard

Parting thoughts: The Patriots started the season with just eight offensive linemen last year, but went with 10 in 2010 and ’09; this year, nine seems like a possibility. Waters was the signing of the season last year, and a healthy Mankins (he’s rehabbing a torn ACL) is always a force. It is believed center is Connolly’s job to lose, though if Mankins isn’t ready to go for the season opener, Connolly could slide to left guard with Koppen at center until he’s back. Gallery’s ability to play guard and tackle helps him. New England thinks highly of Warren, an undrafted rookie, which is why he makes the cut. He’s a close call over McDonald and Thomas, who both saw game time last year.

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