(Sixth in a position-by-position look at the Patriots leading into the draft)
Personnel: Logan Mankins, Stephen Neal, Russ Hochstein, Billy Yates, Dan Connolly, Al Johnson, Ryan Wendell
Short-term need: Minor. Every offensive guard on the roster from last season returns, with the addition of veteran C/G Al Johnson.
Long-term need: High. Both Mankins and Neal, the starters, enter the final year of their contracts. While Hochstein and Yates have filled in when called upon, they aren't considered long-term answers.
Quick hit: While some teams favor big, powerful guards who are less likely to pull, the Patriots like their guards to be on the move. The team's successful screen game -- to both sides of the field -- is helped by the athleticism of the team's guards.
Prospects that could be on the radar in the draft or rookie free agency: T.J. Lang (Eastern Michigan), Andy Levitre (Oregon State), Jamon Meredith (South Carolina), Rich Ohrnberger (Penn State), Max Unger (Oregon)
* Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide used as reference