Both good and bad from CBS's always controversial but usually spot on Pete Prisco.
In a recent article he went through all 32 NFL teams and tabbed an overrated and underrated player on each. The Patriots offensive line was looked at for both spots, as Logan Mankins and Ryan Wednell got the honors respectively.
On the "overrated" Mankins, Prisco wrote:
G Logan Mankins. He has battled injury issues the past two seasons, but that doesn't mean he can't be overrated. He is a good player at guard now, but not one of the league's best.
I have to say that I kind of agree with Prisco on this one. On the one hand, Mankins is an absolute beast. I love having him on my team. He's the enforcer on the line and just an overall tough son of a bitch. The dude owns a completely self-sufficient ranch for Gods sake.
That said, I feel like he's often talked about as the best - or one of the best - guards in the league. I'm not sure his work from the past two years has really backed that up. When he was holding out in 2010 you saw Dan Connolly do an almost unnoticeable (that's a good thing for the o-line) job filling in for him. Then - after a public back and forth with Kraft - Mankins got his big contract and since he definitely has not played up to it.
A huge reason for that is that he has been injured. He played through all of 2011 with a torn ACL. Which is insane! The next year though, he also struggled with injuries. He missed time and didn't look himself. He hasn't looked himself for the past two years. Injuries play a big part in that, but they are part of the overall picture. We can't say that Mankins is the best guard in the league because he hasn't played like one recently.
On the "underrated" Ryan Wendell, Prisco wrote:
C Ryan Wendell. He stepped in for veteran Dan Koppen and did a heck of a job in the middle of the Patriots' line. Playing center in New England's up-tempo offense takes a lot of smarts.
He became the full time center in 2012 after playing it much of the time in 2011 as well. The center position, like most offensive line positions, don't really get recognized that much. So by nature, no one is going to be talking about Ryan Wendell. They should be though and I'm glad that Prisco brings this up.
The Patriots offensive line had huge question marks, particularly at center. While Wendell had played that role in the previous year, we'd yet to really see him play center in a full time role as he split the duties that previous year. You never heard his name come up, rarely saw him get bowled over by a defender. That's much more than you can say for Dan Koppen in his final few years.
Sure, the Patriots came up short, but the offensive line was remarkable all year, a lot of that you can attribute to Wendell holding his own in the middle.