Vollmer injury spotlights OL depth

October, 28, 2013
10/28/13
2:48
PM ET
When starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer remained down on the ground in the second quarter of Sunday's win against the Miami Dolphins, and could be heard screaming in pain on the television broadcast and was later carted to the locker room, it had all the makings of a season-ending situation.

Thus, it was little surprise that the Boston Herald is reporting Vollmer was set to undergo surgery Monday to repair a broken bone in his right leg.

Let's focus on the trickle-down effect this has on the offensive line depth chart:

Marcus Cannon: The third-year player from Texas Christian has been the team's swing tackle this season and also has flexibility to play right guard. He replaced Vollmer in Sunday's game at right tackle and is now the projected starter going forward. Line coach Dante Scarnecchia was complimentary of Cannon in spring camps. "Love his physicality. Love his passion for the game," Scarnecchia said. "He’s a smart kid, a great kid to coach, he’s driven to be very good. I think he’s a really good tackle. ... He’s a special kid, a starting quality player. I love the kid."

Will Svitek: An eight-year veteran in his first season with the Patriots, Svitek now bumps up from No. 7 to No. 6 on the offensive line depth chart, meaning he will be the swing tackle. He also has flexibility to play right guard. Svitek represents good depth for the Patriots, having proven to be a capable fill-in in recent years with the Falcons (10 starts in 2011) and before that the Chiefs (4 starts in 2007). The Patriots signed Svitek to a one-year, $1 million contract in the offseason and that looks like a sound insurance policy right now.

Chris Barker: The undrafted rookie from Nevada is on the developmental track, having been inactive for the past five games. But the Patriots obviously see enough from him to want to keep him on the roster, as he's also cross-trained a bit at center. Because the Patriots generally go into games with seven offensive linemen, Barker would now likely become a candidate to be on the 46-man game-day roster as the seventh lineman if the team doesn't add another player at the position.

Braxston Cave/Jordan Devey/Josh Kline: The three offensive linemen create added layers of depth on the practice squad, and could be promoted to the active roster if the Patriots decide they want more insurance for game day. Cave and Kline are interior linemen, while Devey is a tackle.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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