New England Patriots: Nick McDonald

Source: Pats work out OL McDonald

November, 26, 2013
The Patriots had a familiar face in for a workout Tuesday. Offensive lineman Nick McDonald, waived by the team July 31 after two seasons in New England, was brought in for a look, according to a source.

McDonald, who has experience playing all five positions along the offensive line, is a former undrafted free agent out of Grand Valley State who served in a reserve role for the Patriots last season.

The team was left with just one reserve offensive lineman at the conclusion of Sunday night's game, as Marcus Cannon left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. Veteran Will Svitek took over for Cannon at right tackle, leaving Josh Kline as the only other active reserve lineman.

The Patriots have rookie Chris Barker on the roster to suit up if Cannon is forced to sit out this Sunday's game against the Texans, but McDonald's experience at tackle could be one of the reasons the Patriots were interested in working him out. Both Barker and Kline are interior players.

After waiving both defensive tackle Marcus Forston and Justin Green, the Patriots have two open spots on their 53-man roster. One of those will be filled by tight end D.J. Williams, who a league source confirmed will sign with the team.

Guard McDonald back at practice

December, 7, 2012
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots guard Nick McDonald returned to practice on Friday, the team's second full session of the week.

McDonald did not practice on Thursday with a shoulder injury, and was not spotted at the team's walk-through on Wednesday.

With McDonald back in the fold, the Patriots had a full complement of offensive linemen, including guards Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly, as well as tackle Sebastian Vollmer, at the start of Friday's practice, which was held in light shoulder pads.

Quarterback Tom Brady was present for a second straight practice following the birth of his third child on Wednesday.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski (forearm/hip) was the only player not spotted on the practice field Friday.

The team will practice for a final time on Saturday before facing the Houston Texans on Monday night.

McDonald ready to step up anywhere

November, 15, 2012
After leaving the Patriots' Week 10 win over the Buffalo Bills due to injuries, the status of starting guards Logan Mankins (calf/ankle) and Dan Connolly (back) remains unclear for Week 11.

Nick McDonald, who stepped in to fill one of the vacated guard spots, could be called upon to play a starting role this weekend when the Patriots host the Colts.

But whether McDonald ends up earning the start or not, his preparation for Sunday won't change.

"I'm preparing the same way I do every week," McDonald said. "You've got to be prepared to start, you never know what's going to happen, no idea, so I think every week you've got to prepare as if you're going to play 60 minutes."

We've seen McDonald used in a number of different spots during both training camp and the regular season, and he has the rare ability to play all five positions along the offensive line. Despite the fact that he may end up playing a predominantly guard role this Sunday, McDonald hasn't changed his mentality.

"It's the same, whatever the coaches ask me to do, whatever position they want me at, I'm going to play," he said. "Whether it's any of the five spots I'm going to be playing, rotating in, whatever it is, whatever they want to be play, I'll be ready."

Should McDonald start on Sunday (he filled Mankins' spot at left guard in Week 10), he'll be stepping in to the spot of a player whom he looks up to as a mentor.

"They're big influences on us," he said of Mankins and Connolly. "They're older guys, they've been in the system for a while, they understand how to play the game. Those guys aren't big talkers, they do it with their actions, how they play on the field. They teach us and they know how to do it. You've just got to learn from them and then take the coaching and play as best as you can."

McDonald makes it to big screen

December, 5, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For an entire season in Green Bay, Nick McDonald would sit in on the postgame film sessions and wouldn’t see himself in action. He was never activated in 2010.

For the first 11 games of this season, it was the same old, same old for McDonald, who was released by the Packers last September and hooked on with the New England Patriots’ practice squad in the first week of the season.

But Monday was different for McDonald, who played his college ball at Grand Valley State. And that was because Sunday was different.

McDonald started at center Sunday for the Patriots and turned in a solid effort in New England’s 31-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. So on Monday, there he was, on film with the rest of the Patriots, being assessed for positive and negative plays.

For the most part, McDonald acquitted himself well, and the Patriots helped him out by, among other things, mixing up cadences to slow down the Colts’ dangerous pass-rushing duo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

“It was nice to see myself on film,” McDonald said Monday. “I just have to get better. I need a lot of improvement. I just have to keep working hard.”

The Patriots have been filling a hole at center since Dan Koppen went down with a fractured ankle on Sept. 14. Dan Connolly, Koppen’s replacement, missed the last two games because of a groin injury, and when Ryan Wendell didn’t impress, McDonald was activated Saturday for his first career start.

“For not having major reps with the first group, I thought he did a real good job,” coach Bill Belichick said.

Belichick cut receiver Taylor Price to clear a spot on the roster for McDonald. “It just didn’t work out,” Belichick said of Price, who was claimed by the Jaguars on Monday.

Practice squad shuffle: Welch re-signed

September, 15, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots officially re-signed offensive lineman Thomas Welch to their practice squad Thursday and released offensive lineman Nick McDonald.

Welch, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound tackle, was originally selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (208th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent last season with the Vikings, including a stint on the 53-man roster, before being released this past September. The Patriots signed him to their own practice squad, but elevated him to the 53-man roster in an emergency role Monday in Miami. In order to get him back on the practice squad this week, he had to be released and clear waivers again.

McDonald, a 6-foot-4, 316-pound guard, joined the Patriots practice squad earlier this month after being released by the Green Bay Packers.