Instant analysis: Thomas Welch


FOXBORO -- Two aspects stand out when analyzing the Patriots' selection of Vanderbilt offensive tackle Thomas Welch in the seventh round (208th overall):

1. They must really like him because they traded two seventh-round picks (229 and 231) to move up to 208 to select him. That seems to be an indication that their grade on Welch must have been significantly better than anyone in the neighborhood. It probably also helped them pull the trigger when considering that they have three compensatory draft choices in the seventh round.

2. Matt Light's contract expires after the 2010 season. While the Patriots have Sebastian Vollmer, Nick Kaczur and Mark LeVoir locked up through 2011 and beyond, Welch can be groomed to possibly step into that tackle group in time. Similar to the pick of Ted Larsen in the sixth round, this entrusts line coach Dante Scarnecchia to keep the talent pipeline flowing along the line.