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Training camp preview: Offensive tackle

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 24, 2012 08:31 AM

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Nate Solder (left) is expected to take over the left tackle position and protect Tom Brady's blind side following the retirement of Matt Light. (Winslow Townson/For the Globe)

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

Position: Offensive tackle
Current number of players: 6
Four-year average at cut to 53: 3.5
Last season at 53: 3

Locks (3): Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon
Near-locks: None
Battling (3): Matt Kopa, Kyle Hix, Markus Zusevics
Long shots: None

53-man prediction
On the team:
Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, Kopa
Cut: Hix, Zusevics

Parting thoughts: The Patriots had just three tackles on the roster last season, but Vollmer’s history of back problems give pause. Free-agent pickup Robert Gallery does have experience playing tackle, so New England could go with just three again this year. Solder will be the first player not named Matt Light to start the season at left tackle in a decade, and Vollmer, when healthy, is capable of playing at an All-Pro level. Cannon played well last year even as he was recovering from cancer treatment; he’s likely even stronger now.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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