New England Patriots: Braxston Cave

Vollmer injury spotlights OL depth

October, 28, 2013
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.

Patriots release Mulligan, Cave

September, 5, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots announced the release of tight end Matthew Mulligan and rookie center Braxston Cave today.

The moves bring the team's roster to 51 players.

Mulligan had been signed to the 53-man roster on Tuesday, so this was a quick stay for him. He was considered a strong blocker who could help until Rob Gronkowski returns. The Patriots now have Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and Zach Sudfeld at tight end.

Cave, the former Notre Dame product, had been claimed on waivers from the Browns on Sunday. He could be a candidate to return to the team's practice squad if another team doesn't claim him and he has interest in staying in New England.

Also, the Patriots officially signed offensive tackle Jordan Devey to the practice squad after his original contract with the team was not approved.

CB Cole re-signed; OL Kline waived

September, 2, 2013
The New England Patriots continue to tweak their 53-man roster, announcing today that veteran cornerback Marquice Cole has been re-signed and undrafted rookie guard Josh Kline has been waived.

If Kline clears waivers, he would be a top candidate to fill one of the team's remaining two open spots on the practice squad. With the Patriots claiming rookie interior offensive linemen Chris Barker and Braxston Cave on waivers Sunday, that likely sparked the move with Kline.

Cole provides important depth in the secondary, primarily at cornerback, but he's also worked at safety at times. He's also a top special teams player.

Pats put in claims on Cooper, Jones

September, 1, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots put in waiver claims on rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper (49ers) and rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones (Texans), but were not awarded the players because they were claimed by other teams that had priority in the waiver order.

Cooper, a seventh-round draft choice (252nd out of 254 picks) out of Rutgers, ended up with the Chiefs. Jones, a sixth-round draft choice out of Bowling Green, ended up with the Buccaneers.

Between these two claims, plus the four players the Patriots were awarded on waivers (center/guard Braxston Cave, linebacker Chris White, guard Chris Barker and defensive tackle A.J. Francis), the team was more aggressive on the waiver wire than the norm in recent years.

Part of the reason the Patriots were so aggressive likely was to address areas on the roster where depth was thin.